Talking ‘Bout My Generation

Do you ever find yourself at a loss when it comes to relating to the wide range of ages of the people you encounter at your job? (Did you relate to the song by The Who referenced in the title of this article?)

If you are at a loss, you are not alone. For the first time in history, members of four different generations are working side by side. Each generation has its very own distinct attitudes, behaviors, expectations, habits, and motivators. No wonder there is conflict!

To reduce that level of conflict, here is some information to help you understand where people of different generations are coming from. Read on and see if you can improve your communication skills and your business relationships.

1. Veterans/Traditionalists – “The Silent Generation”
These workers were born before 1945 and represent 6% of the workforce. This generation values dedication and sacrifice, hard work and logic, consistency and conformity, law and order.

Communication tips: This generation is all about formality and respect. Superiors are not questioned. Their communication style is very formal and they prefer face-to-face interactions. They do not like email. They prefer hard copy documentation. They are very detail oriented. Misspellings and poor grammar are unacceptable!

2. Baby Boomers – “The Workaholic Generation”
These workers were born between 1946 and 1964 and represent 41% of the workforce. This generation is optimistic, has a team orientation, is interested in both personal gratification/growth and health/wellness.

Communication tips: The personal touch is very important to this generation. They love meetings and creating memos. When presenting a proposal or an important document, face-to-face is your best option. However, depending on the situation, the phone is sometimes acceptable. Don’t just email it. They will feel unimportant.

3. Generation X – “Latchkey Kids”
These workers were born between 1965 and 1980 and represent 29% of the workforce. This generation values diversity, efficiency and directness, is technologically savvy, fun and informal, independent and entrepreneurial.

Communication tips: They prefer you not beat around the bush. Everything is very direct and immediate. They are used to instant gratification, so give it to them. Email is their preferred way to communicate. It is not important to have the personal touch. Since they work independently, whatever you can do to make their job easier is key.

4. Millennial/ Generation Y – “The Entitlement Generation”
These workers were born between1981 and 1994 and represent 24% of the workforce. This generation also values diversity, is confident and optimistic, likes to work collaboratively, is social and realistic, seeks a work/life balance and is technology dependent.

Communication tips: Being informal in the workplace is the norm. Make sure your communication style is very direct. Email, text, or instant message are the preferred methods of communication. Too much information bores them. “Get it done and move on” is their motto.

So, before you stereotype someone from another generation and assume the worst, think about that person’s core values and what might be more comfortable for them…not just for you. There is no right or wrong way to communicate. Our style is just rooted in the generation we grew up in.

Here’s to getting along and getting good sales results in the process! 


ETIQUETTE CORNER: 
Top Tips For Cell Phone Usage

Let’s face it…cell phone usage is out of control…and so are the potential ways you can annoy other people while using it. These tips are designed to make you smarter about how you use that smart tool:

1. Master your cell phone. Do NOT be a slave to it.
We have a tendency to think that our cell phone is our lifeline. Don’t let constant access to calls, texts, tweets, notifications and emails overwhelm and control YOU. Instead, set limits and control IT.

2. Do not talk on your cell phone while dining in a restaurant. 
Initiating or taking a call at your table can be very disturbing to other people seated with or near you. No one wants to hear your conversation. If you must make or take a call, do so in the lobby or outside.

3. Do not text (and of course, don’t talk on your phone) while in a meeting, or any public place like a theater. 
Scenario: There is an intense part of a movie or play and everyone is at the edge of their seats. Suddenly, someone two rows ahead of you gets a text and the blue light starts to glare. This automatically kills the mood. 

Turn it off. In a meeting, don’t believe for a minute that you are being sneaky by texting under a table. Everyone knows what you are doing. Be courteous to those around you and especially to the host of the meeting.

4. Control those sounds.
Extremely loud ring tones can sound like nails on a chalkboard, especially if that Bon Jovi tune is not your favorite. In every situation, tone it down so it doesn’t get on other people’s nerves. Even soft beeping, dinging and buzzing can sometimes be heard in quiet places. Putting your phone on silent mode can be the best option.

5. Beware of your phone voice. 
This applies to talking on a landline at work, but it applies doubly when you are talking on your cell phone anywhere, particularly if it is a personal call. We all have a tendency to increase our volume on our cell devices. Try to talk at half volume and be aware of your environment. Are the people around you interested in your conversation? If not, go to a more secluded area to talk.

No matter what your generation, remember your cell phone etiquette!