by Michael J. Shapiro | August 01, 2012

Millennials long for new meeting formats, according to a new study released by the Education Foundation of the Chicago-based Professional Convention Management Association.

Looking to learn how to captivate the youngest generation of attendees to build a stronger future for meetings and events, PCMA had a trio of academic hospitality and human science experts survey nearly 2,000 Millennial-age (18 to 30) attendees.

The experts were George Fenich, Ph.D., a professor in the department of Hospitality at East Carolina University; Sheila Scott-Halsell, Ph.D., associate director of the School of Hotel & Restaurant Ad­ministration at Oklahoma State University; and Godwin-Charles Ogbeide, Ph.D., who works in the School of Human Environmental Sciences at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

The team concluded: "It is imperative to discontinue programs of straight lecture or basic PowerPoint presentations. … If you motivate the Millennials with an inspiring and fun event, they will come."

Other key findings show Millennials favor short, simple and structured meetings; they expect Wi-Fi access at events; they assume they will connect via technology as well as face-to-face; they are looking for education with entertainment, from gamification to visual learning; and they seek solid return from events, such as job opportunities, scholarships or career advice.

Attitudes vary according to the Millennial age spectrum: Older Millennials prize mental challenges over the social activities favored by the youngest.

For additional survey findings, go to