How to Communicate with Others in the Workplace

April 2, 2019 / Communicating across generations

If you’re a Gen Xer or Baby Boomer, you might feel like you’re 100 years apart from a millennial.

With smartphones, the Internet, and texting as their go-to, this generation grew up with an entirely different set of standards for communication.

You may have learned the correct etiquette for answering the phone in your early days in the workforce. Meanwhile, nowadays, you might receive text messages from others with incorrect grammar!

In addition, there are now so many different expectations and desires around flexibility in the workforce.

When staff members decide to take a “mental health day” in the middle of your busiest season, it’s enough to make you go crazy as the manager or director of the organization!

Here are a few tips for communicating with colleagues across all generations in the workplace.

  • Be very clear and specific of your expectations up front. With all of your employees and subcontractors, be very clear about what you need from them, how you prefer to be communicated with, and at what frequency. You aren’t a mind reader and neither are they. Be upfront about your expectations, and you give them a greater chance at success. 
  • If an issue comes up, have a conversation quickly and professionally before it escalates. The sooner you address the problem and provide guidance on what to do instead, the sooner it can resolve peacefully. 
  • Don’t be afraid to communicate expectations again and again. Just like with your marketing messages, you may need to reinforce expectations multiple times. 
  • Notice what you take for granted about what you know to do. You might be accustomed to communicating in a certain way, and get confused about why the millennial doesn’t naturally pick up on it. If you have preferences, it’s on you to assume the responsibility and explain it to your team members.

Remember… none of us are born knowing the preferred etiquette of others. We all have to learn somewhere, and the learning curve takes patience from both parties.

And while it can feel challenging trying to communicate with those who grew up in a totally different world than you, different generations also provide perspectives and ideas you wouldn’t come up with on your own.

Appreciate the value that different generations bring to the table and communicate with clarity, and you can more easily work as a team to make your organization great.

Continued …

How to talk to millennials online

August 12, 2018 / Communicating across generations

Different words and ways of speaking will resonate with different target audiences.

If you’re trying to speak to a seasoned CEO, emojis and abbreviations won’t work!

But if you’re trying to reach a millennial, you need to speak in their language… and emojis might be required. ✌😎

Now, some people worry about alienating other people in their audience by focusing on just one audience. But when you try to speak to everyone, you speak to no one.

So the first place to start is getting to be specific about who you are trying to reach — and getting to know your audience in detail.

Often it can be difficult to understand our target market if they are in a different generation than us. With millennials, you could bring in a college intern, and ask them some interview questions.

  • Are they male or female?
  • What is your occupation?
  • Income?
  • Age?
  • Are you on social media? Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook?
  • Which do you spend the most time on (personal / work)?
  • What do you most enjoy seeing, reading, watching, or listening to on social media or other networks (like youtube, online blogs, podcasts)?
  • What are your current challenges (related to our product/service)?
  • What are your goals and desires (related to our product/service)?
  • How could we get your attention with our product? What is it about our product that could help you reach your goals/desires or solve your problems?

You can record your interview with them and use the exact same language in your marketing.

And then, your campaign should be targeting that audience on the platform where they spend their time… and this might be different from where you spend your time!

Millennials won’t just magically end up on your website or in your email database. So instead, go to where they are.

For them, you could create a social media campaign on Snapchat or Instagram.

The more you can speak the language of the people you want to reach on the platforms they want to be on… the better your organization can be seen and heard!


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