An Executive Director's point of view
March 20, 2017: Millennial-friendly job benefits
February 15, 2017: How to connect
That's especially true when it comes to age.
Every single older person was once a younger person and usually wanted different things than they want now.
Looking back, many of those people now realize they should have wanted something different. But that's not how they felt then.
So, give people what they want now.
They can think about later, well, later.
December 09, 2016: A different type of advocacy?
December 05, 2016: Look who likes print
July 29, 2016: Boomers = grown-up millennials
They were determined to do things their way, not the way of those who preceded them.
They developed their own customs, their own ways of thinking and acting, their own way of communicating.
They ignored, or tried to ignore, those who told them what to do.
They advocated fairness, equality, justice, and what would later be called transparency.
They also partied and listed to music (some of it the same music that young people listen to today). Many of them smoked dope (quite a few still do).
They branded their generation. It was theirs, and it was unique.
Now, they've grown up.
They've learned how to integrate their non-traditional attitudes into life. And they believe they've made the world a better place for everybody.
So, why do those millennials insist on challenging them?
July 22, 2016: Shy millennials
Some people - including many millennials - want to sit anonymously in a conference room, listen to speakers, and not participate. They don't want to ask questions and they don't want colleagues to attempt to draw them out.
They may prefer to interact online but may still value the in-person experience - as long as nobody calls attention to them.
So, don't force people to get involved. Enable them to participate in whatever way they choose.
May 14, 2016: Recruiting younger members
In the case of younger people, recognize that their lifestyles are often very different from those who preceded them. Appeal to their way of doing things. Don't try to get them to adopt your way.
1. Give activities new names. Titles such as Annual Meeting, Legislative Breakfast, Golf Outing, Dinner Dance, and Association Benefit evoke images of parents and grandparents. If you are going to continue those events, call them something else.
2. Do something different. Find out the likes and dislikes of your younger members and create events based on their interests. For example, add tennis, volleyball, or running to an event. Structure interactive meetings, rather than reports from VIPs. Serve healthier food.
3. Meet in other places. A tavern or health club may be better than a hotel or country club. An entertainment venue may be preferable to a restaurant.
4. Start later. Many young people don't even leave the house for a social night until 8:30 or 9:00 pm. Add a late night event to your schedule to draw people who expect to be out way past midnight.
5. Ditch the dress code. Younger people may not want to don tuxedos or formal gowns for a social event. Go casual.
6. Be single-friendly. Don't treat married couples as the norm. Create events where single people (of all ages) will feel comfortable and won't feel the necessity to bring a spouse or a date.
7. Get the names right. Couples - even when married - often have different last names. Get rid of the Mr. and Mrs. way of identifying people.
April 29, 2016: No stereotyping
Younger people may want to interact with those their own age at social functions.
But they may prefer networking with older colleagues who can offer them jobs. And they may want to learn from older, more experienced professionals at educational conferences and in training programs.
Younger people may want to archive electronic publications for future reference.
But they may prefer reading hard copy the first time around.
It's important to be aware of the preferences of all market segments. Just don't make assumptions about them.
Ask them what they want. It won't always be what you think.