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Communicate Across Generations Effectively

Alexandra Levit | Water Cooler Wisdom

July 06, 2010


In every talk I give at a corporation or conference on intergenerational communication, someone raises their hand and says that people of different generations don’t vary in their styles and that it’s all in my head. If you’re tempted to think that, here are some examples of the types of remarks I’m always hearing:

Born before 1945, they’re the loyalists, the ones who spent a lifetime at the company and expect to be rewarded with a Rolex:

How can I help YOU?

Flexibility is a code word for less work getting done.

If I’m not yelling at you, you’re doing fine.

Baby Boomers

Born 1945-63, they’re the hippies and the yuppies, the ones who worshiped the Beatles and clawed their way to the top:

I paid my dues to get more money, a better title, and a swankier office – what are you going to do?

You’ll get your feedback, that’s what annual performance reviews are for.

We’ve been in business for 50 years, we must be doing something right.

Gen X →

Featured Author: Alexandra Levit
A current columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Metro US, Alexandra has authored several books, including the popular They Don’t Teach Corporate in College (Career Press 2004 and 2009), How’d You Score That Gig? (Random House/Ballantine, 2008), Success for Hire (ASTD Press, 2008), MillennialTweet (SuperStar, 2009), and New Job, New You (Random House/Ballantine, 2010). Her book on the top myths of business success is due out from Penguin/Berkley in spring 2011.

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