It is important to design conferences and learning programs with the recognition that participants may be in various phases of their careers and lives. An emerging professional is not going to have the same needs as someone who is nearing retirement. Employees with young children won't have the same priorities as empty nesters.
The fastest way to alienate any audience is to deliver generic content that is not customized or relevant to their needs.
Here are 6 strategies for designing more relevant multi-generational meetings.
1.To ensure that content is relevant and targeted, customize the following questions and include them on registration forms or participant profiles:
- What specific challenges are you facing in taking your career to the next level? (Alternatives: What specific challenges are you facing in growing your business? or What specific challenges are you facing as a single parent?)
- What roadblocks and obstacles are you facing in advancing your career (or growing your business)?
- What support or feedback would be helpful?
- What other programs have you attended with a similar focus and what were the key take-aways?
2.Offer parallel, multi-track sessions.
For example, offer a senior professionals roundtable and a session on launching a career for emerging professionals.
3.Transform basic content for experienced participants:
- Career Development: Definitely, individuals can face challenges at any stage of their career. Instead of just covering career planning basics, offer a targeted session for experienced participants focusing on career stallers and stoppers and how to overcome them.
- Networking: Don't waste time by covering the basics of how to network. Instead, design a high powered networking session that gives participants access to key influencers in their field.
Life-long learning is important and there is value in refreshers, however, one way to alienate boomers is to make basic, introductory sessions mandatory.