imgaoResearch launched by Loughborough University and Imago clearly shows that event organisers need to have a stronger focus on style of learning preferred by millennials and the business leaders of the future.

The research was conducted in conjunction with Loughborough University and The Right Solution and measures whether the meetings industry is doing enough to inspire the business leaders of tomorrow. It follows on from last year’s successful report; Does the future have room for face-to-face communication.

Professor Rachel Thomson, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching) at Loughborough University, commented: “At Loughborough, we are continually developing our learning and teaching methods to take advantage of the latest developments in technology, including designing flexible spaces to foster learning and collaboration, preparing a new generation of students for the world of work. It is important for their future employers to recognise these different learning styles when delivering training to realise the full potential of their millennial talent, given that they were immersed in technology from an early age.”

Key findings from the research include:

·         82% of delegates and 81% of students said a major motivator to attend meetings was for personal career development yet this wasn’t rated highly as a motivator by organisers.

·         Just 51% of delegates and 37% of students feel fully encouraged to take part in meetings.

·         Delegates see meetings as an opportunity for creative and innovative thinking yet feedback suggests they don’t always get this and that meeting organisers and facilitators could pay more attention to stimulating creative thought.

·         75% of delegates and 77% of students like meetings to use interactive games and new technology yet only 66% of organisers are making use of them.

·         Passion and enthusiasm are the highest ranked elements delegates, organisers and students want from a speaker

·         Whilst social media activity will not necessarily motivate people to attend meetings, 61% of delegates, 51% of organisers and 65% of students believe it is a good tool for creating awareness.

Emma Boynton, Head of Sales and Marketing at Imago, commented: “Our role is to provide an environment for continuous education, learning and communication. To achieve this, it is important for us to know what people want to get from meetings, particularly the leaders of tomorrow. The research discovered that millennials place great value on face to face meetings and whilst technology does have an impact on how they prefer to communicate and conduct business, they are looking for a more customised learning experience. They want to learn from inspirational experts to gain knowledge that helps their future career aspirations, and in many cases, their needs are not being met by meetings organisers.”

The research also showed that a company’s vision and goals are a high priority for organisers, but low priority for attendees who want to be recognised and to build confidence in their ability. In particular, students want to learn how to use their strengths to their own advantage.

Emma added: “Delegates want content that offers inspiration, passion and leadership and they don’t value meetings which are aimed purely at obtaining information about the company’s vision compared to organisers. As a venue, it is important for us to help organisers support millennials so they can learn something valuable and develop relationships that will benefit them – meetings need to be linked to what they want to achieve, not the organisation.

“The results serve as a rallying cry to the meetings industry and British business to do more to encourage passion and enthusiasm for work to maintain motivation and increase productivity in the future. As an industry, we need to work harder, be more flexible and think ahead to provide value to people who attend meetings so it is more worthwhile for them.”

Emma’s sentiments have already been echoed by the HBAA with its Chair and Director of Supplier Partnerships Leigh Cowlishaw saying it is wants to ensure that the industry is equipped to support and motivate the next generation of leaders in hospitality and events and guide them towards sustainable industry growth.

A copy of the research can be downloaded from http://go.welcometoimago.com/is-the-meetings-industry-doing-enough-to-inspire

The research was undertaken by Loughborough University and Imago.  The Right Solution provided methodology, analysis and validation of the research which was conducted amongst a sample of 430 students, delegates, and event organisers using a series of focus groups, face to face interviews and online questionnaires.

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