How to communicate across the generation gap

Excerpts from a conversation among a Baby Boomer, a GenXer and a GenYer reveal changes communicators must make to stay relevant to all employees.

Just scan this conversation—civil but a bit contentious—among three individuals from the three different generations. You’re reading it here first … The impact on employee communication will be fast and furious especially if GenY gets its way at work.

How did this conversation come about? Several months ago, the Baby Boomer (Liz Guthridge) and the GenX (David Kligman) started talking about challenges in communicating across the generational gorge. They wanted to bounce their ideas off of a member of GenY. But who? Just a few weeks later, a GenY—Liz’s stepson—moved in with her and her husband for the foreseeable future. (Yes, it’s true, GenYers, especially compared to the Boomers, get along with their parents and like living at home.)

So the three of us met a couple of times in person to appease the Boomer—Boomers like meetings. Then to placate GenX and GenY, we continued our conversation virtually, summarized here. We also debated how communication professionals need to change … soon.

Boomer: Are we Boomers really behind in using technology to communicate at work? After all, many of us are using the tools: blogs, instant messaging, text messaging, wikis, social networking, etc.

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