Where are young professionals during the breaks at your conference?
Are they enjoying quiet time back in their rooms?
Are they in the halls furiously swiping on their phones?
Are they basking in the sun alone on a bench outside the property?
If the vast majority of young professionals are engaging in these activities while the rest of your attendees are connecting with their peers, you may have a problem.
Think about how awkward you feel when you enter a room of strangers. Imagine how uncomfortable it is to stand there alone while it seems like everyone else is chatting. Young professionals traveling alone often feel this way at events. So they escape.
Some associations do a great job of engaging young professionals early, and those participants feel a sense of belonging. How do they do it?
- Young professional pre-conference workshops – invite young professionals for learning opportunities before the conference starts. Create lots of opportunities in the format for participants to work together and connect.
- Young professional orientation – many of your young professionals are also new members and first-time attendees. Before and early in the conference, tell them what to expect and how to navigate the event.
- Young professionals group – a group for young professionals that helps young professionals learn, connect, and give back. This can be a great way to get young professionals engaged before they attend the conference, and keep them engaged after the conference.