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Millennials and meetings

This article from Fast Company explains what millennials—the latest generation to join the workforce—want in their jobs, and gives some ideas on how different generations can coexist peacefully in the office. Like it or not, my fellow boomers and Gen Xers in supervisory positions, these guys will be changing the way we do business, and unless you plan to retire in the very near future, it's time to do some attitude adjusting. And remember, it's not just your new hires who likely will want to work differently, it's also your attendees.

Of course, sweeping generalizations are sweeping generalizations, but generally speaking, according to the article:

    Millennials aren't interested in the financial success that drove the boomers or the independence that has marked the gen-Xers, but in careers that are personalized. They want educational opportunities in China and a chance to work in their companies' R&D departments for six months. "They have no expectation that the first place they work will at all be related to their career, so they're willing to move around until they find a place that suits them," says Dan Rasmus, who runs a workplace think tank for Microsoft. Thanks to their overinvolved boomer parents, this cohort has been coddled and pumped up to believe they can achieve anything. Immersion in PCs, video games, email, the Internet, and cell phones for most of their lives has changed their thought patterns and may also have actually changed how their brains developed physiologically. These folks want feedback daily, not annually. And in case it's not obvious, millennials are fearless and blunt. If they think they know a better way, they'll tell you, regardless of your title.

So for meetings, I see personalized career-setting tracks, lots of different ways for them to provide—and get—feedback, and to listen to what they have to say about the meeting and make changes accordingly. I also like the idea of assigning new attendees mentors, providing a less-structured environment so they can group and regroup according to what interests them at any particular point in time, shorter and more interactive sessions, and being willing to reconsider if they come up with an idea that's been tried before and didn't work.

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