I deliver workshops about generational differences in the workplace, and the question from Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers that always comes up is:
“What’s the best way to communicate with Millennials at work?”
It’s a bit of a loaded question in that it implies that Millennials are this mysterious “thing” that needs to be communicated with in a special way. As a Gen-Xer, I don’t think they are. There’s no single trick to communicating effectively with Millennials. In my mind, it’s really about how one size does NOT fit all.
Yes, certainly you could make an argument and find research to support the existence of trends regarding what people from different generations prefer. But I also know that people resent being pigeon-holed—Millennials included!
This article from Forbes.com does a nice job of talking about some of the preferences that Millennials have when it comes to communication. But upon reading the article, you’ll notice two things:
First, like the rest of us, Millennials use all modes of communication and not just one. In fact, despite their reputation, they still use email—a lot!
Second and more importantly, communicating with Millennials is less about adapting to trends or new technology than it is about figuring out what works best. A text message might work best in one situation, and a phone call might work best in another.
But don’t assume that all Millennials have the same communication preferences. Take the time to understand what works best in communicating with all the individuals you work with rather than making blanket assumptions based on the generation they belong to. Yes, it’s not easy and it takes more energy than making assumptions, but if you want to communicate effectively, focus on the audience you actually have—not the one you assume you have.
Guillermo Villar is principal coach with Cambio Coaching. He helps high-achieving individuals and teams communicate with intention to get the business results they want. If you’re interested in working with Guillermo, sign up for a free exploratory meeting.