Multigenerational meetings may seem to present challenges but in truth, they actually are an opportunity to find ways to help your team get beyond the age gap and find strengths in their differences. Differing styles and tastes can be overcome when everyone has their eye on the ultimate goal of the meeting. Creating a sense of camaraderie goes a long way towards uniting a team, helping them to see past their differences.
Here are four tangible steps you can take to help your next multigenerational meeting be a time of building bridges rather than widening the generation gap.
Tips for Running Multigenerational Meetings
1. LOOK FOR COMMONALITIES
Every single employee is a valued member of the team. By using that fact as the foundation of your communication, you will begin to create a common bond between each attendee.
Keeping comfort in mind, offer the option to dress down to business casual for the event. Business casual will help the shirt-and-tie set stay comfortable while ruling out the temptation of the young at heart to don flip-flops.
Also, take your eyes off of the ages of the attendees for a moment and look for other commonalities. Do you have several employees that love to run marathons? Include that in your opening speech and invite them to get to know one another. Are several departments working on a project collectively? Set aside a time for them to all talk face-to-face to gain a richer, deeper understanding of what the team as a whole is facing.
2. SKIP THE LECTURES
To create a more engaging environment that will span the ages, offer a blend of short talks and interactive activities that enhance the overall point of the meeting.
Keeping things simple but making a point to acknowledge your entire staff’s preferences can go a long way toward encouraging everyone to engage. For instance, shorter lectures that tell a relatable story while sharing a concept gives boomers and generation Xers both the style they are accustomed to mutually. Including the choice of written and online notes includes millennials, making them comfortable in the setting and encouraging them to engage fully in the talk.
Breakout sessions should be relevant and short, staying on point to enhance the lesson learned and to collaborate on how to utilize it in everyday work.
3. PLAY OFF OF EACH OTHER’S STRENGTHS
Boomers may have more years of experience leading to deep wisdom where the younger set can tend to be full of fresh ideas and enthusiasm. Valuing both strengths and teaching your team to appreciate them will launch your staff to a new depth of mutual respect that will strengthen your company overall.
4. REMEMBER: SMART TECHNOLOGY NOW SPANS THE AGES
Skip the stereotypes. Online registration, an easy to use app, and virtual speakers can be utilized by all ages as long as they are easily accessible by all. A blend of live and virtual activities can keep everyone engaged while offering new learning possibilities for everyone.
5. WHERE YOU CAN CATER TO BOTH, DO IT
Healthy living spans the ages – so healthy food and a couple of simple exercise options is a must-have! Offer meal options that are energy-giving, locally grown, and packed with nutrition will please your staff and give them an area of common ground to talk about throughout the remainder of the event. Yoga is popular and easy to share with all age groups and fitness levels.
Employing several generations is a brilliant way to keep your company relevant and bright. Engaging the differing ages through meetings and events in a way that encourages collaboration and mutual vision will bring strength to your business that is second-to-none. What was once seen as a burden, it is now clear that a multigeneration staff has benefits that far outweigh the challenges.
The staff at The Inn at Virginia Tech is here to make your meetings run smoothly. Reach out to learn more about how we can make your next one a success!