University of Southern Indiana
How to communicate in a multi-generational environment

How to communicate in a multi-generational environment

September 28, 2017

By Chaze Patrick, Outreach and Engagement Marketing Assistant

Have you ever been in a situation where you weren’t able to effectively communicate your message?  This can happen to anyone at any time, because we live in a world where people are different. The workforce is diverse and there are multiple generations to communicate with.

It is important to know your audience to have a significant impact. Here are suggestions to interconnect with the Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X’ers, Generation Y’ers and Generation Z’ers.

  1. Traditionalists

Traditionalists are those who were born between 1925 and 1945. Some people of notoriety in this category would be singer Aretha Franklin and astronaut John Glenn. When you communicate with a Traditionalist, consider that they prefer face-to-face discussions and like to establish clear rules based on the conversation. Seeking their guidance, based on their vast experiences, can help foster great guidance in your success.

  1. Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers are those who were born between 1946 and 1964. Magic Johnson and President Bill Clinton would be considered in this category. Baby Boomers enjoy working in teams, are extremely devoted to success and desire respect based on their efforts. When communicating with a Baby Boomer, ensure that you address them with respect, because they can be a great asset to your team.

  1. Generation X

Generation X includes those who were born between 1965 and 1980. Some of the greats like Michael Jordan and Leonardo DiCaprio are a part of Generation X. Generation X’ers are highly resourceful when it comes to communicating instantaneously through social media or text messaging, value strong family ties and are goal-oriented and results-driven.

  1. Generation Y

Generation Y, or the millennials, includes those who were born between 1981 and 1998. The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerburg, suits this category. It is important to note that Generation Y’ers reflect these tenets: social interaction is a MUST, impactful work is a motivator, the choice and flexibility to conduct projects and opportunities for development. This generation is very interactive on online platforms. When communicating with the Y’ers, always be ready to get straight to the point.

  1. Generation Z

Generation Z includes those who were born from 1998 and 2020 like actors Neel Sethi and Cameron Boyce. Generation Z’ers are the future of the workplace. This generation is still in its infancy; however, it is of strong consideration that they value relationship building. Therefore, approach Z’ers with a connected, genuine approach.

Now that you have learned about the five generations, how should you pursue further with this knowledge? Build on the frameworks to connect and communicate with your colleagues.

Contact Erin McCracken Merris


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