Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Baby Boomer vs GenY Communication.

Over the years, I heard the term “Baby Boomer”, “Gen XY”, “Gen X” and various other terms to describe groups of people.  I never really gave it much thought.  I didn’t even think of myself as a Baby Boomer.  I always referred to my age group (women in their 50’s).  As a consultant and a leader in direct sales, I am learning that I need to really understand the differences between our generations.  It isn’t just about our age, it is about a way of thinking and interacting that is very different.  Thirty One considered this important information and at National Conference invited Jason Dorsey to present.  I have to admit, I was doubtful that this had any impact on my business.  Then it started to make sense.  I started thinking about Belinda (my soon to be 25 year old daughter) and how she interacts in her personal life and at work.  I also thought about those Gen Y on my team, and the pieces began to fall into place.

According to Jason, there are some distinct characteristics of Gen Y.  They are between 18 -35 years of age, think they are special and unique, are completely a visual generation, are tech dependent not necessarily tech savvy and they outspend baby boomers.  They are 3 – 5 years behind in life and work experience due to delayed growing up.  They were older when they graduated college, entered the work force, get married and have their first child.  So, now you are wondering what does this all mean when it comes to direct sales, my parties and recruiting for my team – right?

It is simple – the one size approach doesn’t fit everyone.  As a baby boomer, I think the best way to talk to people is via phone.  Most in this group don’t answer their CELL phone let alone have a landline.  Their preferred method of communication is TEXT MESSAGING!  UGH!  Really, it takes too long to type the message, right?  Supposedly, that is how you can tell a person’s age is by how they text.  It is so true.  Text messages from Belinda & some Gen Y on my team are short and sweet.  Using abbreviations and pictures.  When I get messages from my mom or I text – they are almost complete sentences with punctuation.  Note to self – learn text shorthand.

Emails are the #2 for communication.  They don’t read the whole thing – ONLY the subject line and then make a decision on what to do.  Really??  Now, I have to be creative instead of direct in my subject line to ensure that people read my email.  This is like taking a course in communication.  Emails for me were always clear and concise, almost like handwriting a letter.  Does anyone remember what that was like?

I was surprised that in this age of technology, the #3 form of communication was social media – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and the list goes on.  Believe it or not, as a complete visual generation they believe that this form of communication is authentic, transparent and real.  WOW!  I have entered into some of these worlds but I feel like I have so much more to learn.

So, for the baby boomers reading this, what are your thoughts?  Are you ready to embrace a NEW way of communicating to grow your team or build your business?  This is going to be a work in progress for me.  You can bet there will be some blogs on this subject.  I would love to hear your thoughts whether you are a baby boomer, a Gen Y or some other group.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.