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Communicate Across Generations Effectively

Alexandra Levit | Water Cooler Wisdom

July 06, 2010

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Generation X

Born 1964-79: they’re the loners, the ones who learned to be self-reliant while their parents left them with latchkeys:

Company loyalty – what’s that?

I can manage my own career, thank you very much.

Give me the skills or give me death.

Millennials

Born 1980-95, they’re the techies, the ones whose parents taught them they were special and entitled:

Sorry to interrupt, but you haven’t told me how I’m doing in the last hour.

Let’s cut out the red tape and cut it out now.

How can YOU help ME?

You can see that when it comes to communication, we’ve come full circle from the customer-oriented traditionalists, who wanted to know how they could help you, to the self-focused Millennials, who want to know what an organization and its people can do for them.

Adapting your style to suit the different perspectives of the multi-generational workforce will increase your team’s productivity and support a stronger sense of loyalty and positive morale. Here are some ideas to start you off:

Traditionalists→

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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.