To Engage Millennials Add Competition

engaging Millennials, Dan Yaman, professional development blog

Millennials are regarded as a tricky audience—difficult to engage and challenging to keep entertained.

So what’s the formula for engaging Millennials, keeping them entertained and participating at an event in a meaningful way? Break the audience into teams and start a competition!

Team interaction and competition transcends generational boundaries. Millennials are NOT the only generation that needs engagement, but we’re finding that it’s particularly good for the Millennials.

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Research has shown that Millennials love to collaborate. Positive or negative, collaboration is the lifeblood of this generation. They grew up working in teams and getting constant feedback from teachers, parents and peers. They want to discuss and crowd-source content. They want to show off achievements, get the badge, win the ribbon and even get a gold star for participating.

Putting your Millennial audience into teams and starting a competition throughout the event creates accountability, engages participants and allows for smaller breakout discussions and peer interaction. Additionally, there’s nothing that boosts the energy and fun at an event than team competition.

At Live Spark, we frequently have clients do a “team building” element to an event, but we would go further by adding in a competition that goes throughout the event and contains multiple elements makes the entire event a team building event. For instance, you might:

  • Put the audience into teams immediately upon entering the room
  • Get them to develop a team identity (name, chant)
  • Utilize audience response games to review content
  • Bring in TV-style game shows as a larger entertainment element
  • Incorporate small competition; i.e. handing out “Monopoly money” for answering a question in a general session
  • Have a leaderboard that is updated with team scores throughout the event

Competition may seem frivolous in a serious event, but its impact is anything but. The emotional engagement and content-retention payoff is well worth the investment.

At your next event, instead of seating everyone theater-style, put them in rounds and get them to start collaborating. Put them on teams and get them to start competing. Not only is it good interaction for everyone, but you’ll gain the coveted interaction of the Millennials.

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