01/05/2019

Networking highly valued by millennials – but don’t expect them to go it alone

A survey of meeting and event planners carried out by The Meetings Show has found that millennials value networking more highly than any other generation, but are reluctant to attend events on their own.

Overall, 59% of participants in the survey regarded networking events as an important part of their job, but this figure rose to 85% among 18-30-year-olds, who cited making new contacts (80%) and raising their profile in the industry (71%) as the key reasons for attending.

While the younger generation clearly see the value in networking, the majority – 85% – were averse to attending on their own, preferring to go with a colleague or group of colleagues.

More experienced event planners were happier to go it alone, with over a third (36.4%) of 31-45-year-olds preferring to attend by themselves.

Motivations for attending differed among the older generations too, with generating new business leads and meeting with existing industry contacts and friends being cited as key drivers by more than 50% of respondents over 30.

The survey also looked at the logistics which make the ‘perfect’ networking event and found that midweek events were most popular, with 69% preferring events held on Wednesdays, while more than half (52.2%) said they would be willing to travel no more than an hour to attend an event.

When it comes to the format of events, paired or group activities was the most popular option, chosen by 53% of respondents, although for the 31-45 age group appointment-based networking was preferred, while for planners aged 46 and over, seat rotation at a dinner was chosen by 70%.

David Chapple, group event director of The Meetings Show, said: “Networking is one of the core pillars of The Meetings Show, and so we are always reviewing the way we facilitate networking to make sure it’s of the most benefit to our exhibitors and visitors. The findings of the survey have reinforced just how important it is, especially for younger event professionals looking to grow their networks and raise their profile within the industry.

“Walking into a room full of people you don’t know can be daunting, which is why this year we have introduced a new initiative specifically aimed at helping junior event planners. If they have a senior colleague who is attending the show as a hosted buyer, then on the second day of the show the junior colleague will be able to join them for all of their appointments, as well as having access to the hosted buyer lounge, for a less intimidating introduction to the industry.

“With networking at The Meetings Show being provided in a number of different formats, all either on the show floor or within easy reach of Olympia, we hope that all of our attendees will benefit from the opportunity to come together at the show.”

The Meetings Show takes place on Wednesday 26 and Thursday 27 June at Olympia London. To register, visit www.themeetingsshow.com/register.