Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers, Silent Generation

Video credit: Vanessa Van Edwards, “Communicating Across Generations” August 27, 2015, via YouTube.

Dear All,
In this post I would like to address the question of communication across generations. We already know that communication is a complex process involving multiple factors and multiple factors (e.g. “Speaking model“) need to be taken care of for success of communication and a generation can be one of such factors.

In the video above Vanessa Van Edwards and the interviewer discuss five different generations and some of the tactics that may contribute to the positive outcome of communicating with people belonging to a particular generation:

Gen Z = Eye Generation (born in 2000 – present).

  • Communicate briefly (smaller chunks of information).
  • Add entertainment (fun).
  • Use technology (shared calendar, texting, emails, etc.).
  • Use visuals (e.g. PowerPoint presentations, charts, videos, information in a bullet form, etc.).

Millennials = Generation Y (born in 1980 – 2000).
Millennials Get along well with their parents.

  • Ask their opinion sincerely.
  • Allow them to contribute to projects (e.g. by asking their opinion, asking to share their experience, asking how to make a project a success, etc.).

Gen X = Sandwich Generation (born 1965 – 1980).
Gen Xers are used to taking on a lot of responsibility (e.g. volunteering).

  • Offer some help (e.g. fix a computer issue, come up with a solution to a task).
  • Take away pressure.

Boomers (born in 1946 – 1964).
Boomers value respect and tradition.

  • Show respect to the ways they are used to do things.

Silent Generation (born before 1946).
Their needs were silenced by what the country needed.

  • Ask them about their life.
  • Celebrate the fact that they are here with you now.
  • Try to communicate with them the way they want.

What are some of the advantages in discussing communication patterns in terms of age groups (generations)? The biggest advantage is probably the chance to generalize in order to be able to draw on some of the common features in terms of communication which are shared by different representatives of this group. The biggest disadvantage may be the risk of regarding all the people from this age group as having certain determined communicative styles whereas, as we know, there is always a place for individual characteristics and exceptions. Therefore, it may be best to rely on what scholars have found in relation to one or another age group, but at the same time to be aware of possible individual features of each person.

Have you noticed anything from your own experience that can facilitate communication with people from any of these age groups? Please share in the comments to this post. Thanks!

See similar posts about
Hofstede’s cultural dimensions
Monochronic and polychronic cultures
High- and low-context cultures
SPEAKING model (D. Hymes)
Colours: What do they communicate?
The importance of nonverbal means of communication

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