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Millennials and Communication

We’ve all heard, and perhaps completed the research on the effect of technology on the millennial generation. Specifically, we all want to know how this affects their communication style. Often times, it feels like the availability of technology is causing face to face communication skills to suffer for these young professionals. We can all agree that Millennials are very tech savvy, but is it harming their ability to interact in person?

CareerBuilder conducted a survey in 2012, which revealed the following statistics in regards to preferred mode of communication. Individuals aged 55+ prefer face-to-face interaction 60% of the time, compared to 55% of millennials (age 25-34). Just 35% of Millennials choose email or texting as their preferred method, compared to 28% of those age 55 and up. While these numbers do point to fewer millennials communicating face to face compared to the older generation, by no means is the difference a big one. Furthermore, This study reveals that the majority of millennials do choose face to face communication when given the option. So where does this stigma come from?

We’ve determined that a big gap between communication styles lies in the availability of information. Millennials have grown up with a number of resources at their disposal, they like to learn the answer to their questions as quickly as possible. Older generations prefer to talk through a problem and arrive at the answer after research and discussion. When face-to face communication isn’t an option, millennials want to share their knowledge as quickly as possible. The 2nd choice is often times text or email.

There are a great deal of buzz words floating around in regards to the millennial generation. Entitled, selfish, lazy, and many more. Each generation, however, has common traits associated with their work style. We all know that it’s not right to generalize an entire group of individuals based solely on their birth year, but how do we prevent these traits from ringing true for the millennials in our own lives?

One trait not often heard regarding millennials is their overwhelming desire to learn and be challenged. Setting strict boundaries in regards to communication both in and out of the workplace will resolve many challenges the communication gap presents. For example, tell millennials to leave cell phones at their desks for one-on-one meetings. If they’re expecting an important call, the meeting can be postponed until a time when you have their full attention. Often times, millennials demonstrate a strong desire to move up in the world and excel. Working on their communication skills will benefit their quest for success as much as it benefits you.

If your son or daughter is a millennial, and you worry about their ability to communicate, set strict boundaries at home and explain what the purpose is. Contrary to some of the rumors, millennials are open to listening. They are also most definitely open to bettering themselves.

Many of these communication barriers begin in the home from a young age. If you’re concerned about the impact technology is having on your children, contact Choices Psychotherapy to discuss our child or family therapy options. Choices is located in St. Louis Park, MN.



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