I’ve recently been writing leadership training for a couple of direct selling companies, teaching leaders how to use social media to work more efficiently, and effectively communicate with their teams. And the one thing I keep coming back to is how different generations communicate, and how it affects us as direct sellers.
If you’ve recruited anyone under the age of 30 recently, you know that the only way to get an immediate response is to text that person. In fact, I was speaking with the youth pastor at my church this past weekend, and he was telling me how email is no longer relevant to the youth and young adults that he works with. They just don’t check it.
So that means that if you want to communicate with Generation Y, you’d better learn how to get your point across in 140 characters or less.
But what also fascinates me is how differently generations communicate. Particularly because we have 4 different generations in the marketplace right now.
- There’s the Traditionalist, who is 66-86.
- The Baby Boomer is about 47-65.
- You’ve got Generation X, who is 33-46.
- And finally, there’s Generation Y, who is 18-32 (for our purposes.)
The traditionalist prefers handwritten notes and phone calls. Email, cell phones, and social networks can all be overwhelming. The Baby Boomer prefers face to face and telephone communication. Interestingly, our current training systems seem to be designed with her in mind. She has challenges with social networking and texting.
Now compare this to the Generation X team member. She prefers (short) email, texting, and social networks. Some of her challenges include face to face meetings, formal letter writing, and group discussions (what does that tell you about your team meetings?) And for Generation Y, she doesn’t even use email (except for school and work if she has to.) She much prefers texting and social networks. Her biggest challenges are talking on the phone, face to face meetings, and reading long documents.
You can read more about this here: http://techteachtoo.com/e-mail/different-generations-have-different-communication-styles-and-different-tools/
So as you communicate with your team, you need to keep in mind that the age of your team members will affect whether or not they hear you. You may have to craft your team communications in several different ways in order to reach everyone. Ultimately, you have to be good at all the communication techniques if you want to be effective as a leader: Phone, face to face, texting, social networks, email, etc. It may not be comfortable, but it’s necessary.
How do you adjust your team communications to accommodate the communication styles of your team? Do you ask them how they prefer to receive messages? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.