Kim Lear Reveals Research-Driven Generational Insights for Meeting Planners

"Nobody quite understands people the way that great meeting and event planners do," Kim Lear, founder and content director of Inlay Insights, told attendees of this morning's keynote session during Destination Florida, a hosted-buyer event by Northstar Meetings Group. Her presentation, sponsored by Goodman Speakers Bureau, examined how generational differences in behavior and expectations are continually reshaping the workforce. 

For meeting and event planners, most of whom have multigenerational audiences, Lear noted: "Right now, all of the generations are going through life-stage transformations. Baby Boomers might be near retirement, or semiretirement, that might last 30 years. This is a new life stage called the 'encore.'" Meanwhile, Many Gen Xers have been in their current professions for 25 years or so, and they are considering a 'pivot,' reinventing themselves as they question whether they are happy doing what they do, since they will probably be working for another 25 years. Millennials are getting married, having kids, and stepping into management roles.

Unprecedented access to information has both empowered and overwhelmed consumers, she added. For events, it's important to remember that all the people in your audience have access to the best information, and the best speakers, from their home computers. "You need to give them something that they cannot find online. It should be a meaningful, communal experience," Lear said.

All generations, she added, are looking for "experiential, future-focused, mind-expanding content." Also, providing too many choices is overwhelming. With different educational "tracks" and concurrent sessions to choose from, participants are pressured overwhelmed with indecision, and that leads to a sense of dissatisfaction. They are looking for simplification. As with successful models like Ted Talks, planners should curate the best content and provide that to everyone, said Lear, adding, "Participants are looking for simplification."

For more on Kim Lear, go to the Goodman Speakers Bureau.