WordsWorking

Millennials are different . . . and so is everyone else

By now, you’ve certainly heard that Millennials have a different way of thinking, a different way of doing business, and a different way of communicating. By now, you’re probably tired of hearing about Millennials, actually. Even the members of that particular generation don’t want to hear about Millennials, mostly because they don’t like the label and all of the negativity associated with it.

So let’s talk about everyone else. In particular, there is a new group coming into the workforce that will undoubtedly eclipse the Millennials in terms of discussion topics. Generation Z, aka iGen, aka the New Silent Generation, is going to bring an entirely new perspective to the workplace. This group has been immersed in technology since birth. They are being called the New Silent Generation because they don’t communicate verbally, but rather through posts, texts, and tweets.

Generation Z is on the working scene now in small numbers. Their force will grow substantially over the next five to ten years as more of them come of age, start their first jobs, or start their first businesses. Working for someone else may not satisfy them for long, as they will certainly be able to figure out a better way to do things more quickly than their “elders” in the workplace.

Some of those elders are in the Gen X group, a generation that never really got much of a good nickname. Some called them Slackers but that didn’t last, fortunately. They, too, tend to look at the world a little differently. This group experienced some significant changes in technology as they were growing up and making their way up the ladder at work. They still tend to cling to email, although more and more are moving toward quicker, more efficient methods of communication.

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The look and feel of effective communication

The phrase “effective communication,” or some variation of it, is used a lot, but what does it really mean?

We probably have all experienced the opposite outcome, when communication is most definitely not effective. Think about the last time you had to send several emails back and forth, simply to clarify a single statement or the perceived tone in the first one. “What did you mean by that?” “Can you provide more details?” “Are you mad?”

You might have even experienced a total breakdown in communication, when the proverbial left hand didn’t even know the right hand existed, let alone talked to it.

So how do we communicate effectively?

Think about who is on the receiving end! Think about what your message needs to say, how it will be received, and how it needs to be transmitted. Yes, it’s just that simple. However, the simplicity can be deceiving. Communicating effectively takes time and forethought.

Those emails dashed off without thinking – and without proofreading – are the ones that will require even more time to clarify. Stop to consider the receiver. Is email the best tool to use for that particular message or that particular recipient? An email sent to a member of one of the youngest generations or one of the oldest generations may not even be read. Would a text or a (gasp!) phone call be more effective?

How do you know when your communication efforts have been effective? When you get a response! When your recipient acknowledges that he or she has received the message and – this is the most important part – understands clearly what the message says. Just as there is no crying in baseball, there are no misinterpretations or misunderstandings in effective communication.

So, once again, stop and think. Is this a situation that requires you to let others know what is going on? What message do you need to send? Why is it necessary? What is the tool that is used most often by the person you are trying to reach? Is the message urgent? How will the receiver interpret the message? How can you convey specific, clear meaning in written or spoken words?

Think about how you act as the receiver of a message. When someone says something to you face-to-face, you can read their expressions and hear the tone of their voice. When you receive a written message, you don’t have any of that to use as clues for hidden meanings.

The look and feel of effective communication is all too often elusive. Isn’t that a little silly? Shouldn’t we be trying to be as clear as possible when we are communicating? You can make it so. Take the time to consider your recipient and put together the words in a form that makes sense.

Spend more time being clear at the beginning and you’ll spend less time clarifying and correcting misunderstandings in the end.

Gender, generation, and navigating gaps

Here are some surprising facts that will astound and amaze you:

  • Women and men communicate differently
  • 20-year olds and 60-year olds communicate differently
  • Managers and employees communicate differently

Totally blows you away, right? […]

Flappers, Hippies, and . . . Millennials

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAMuAAAAJDBmYmFjOGJhLTk3NjQtNDZlZi04NDBkLWYwNTNhOTM0NmFmMA“We are the Younger Generation. The war tore away our spiritual foundations and challenged our faith. We are struggling to regain our equilibrium.” […]

Millennials, sure, but don’t forget the Boomers and Xers

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAJyAAAAJGJiN2MxMWVmLTI4NmUtNDExZS05NzQyLTgzMTI3Yjc0YzA3MgWith all the focus on Millennials – how to attract them, how to keep them – we tend to lose sight of the fact that there is still a significant part of the workforce over the age of 35. Some are way over, even twice that age, but we’ll get to them in a minute. […]