When communicating with people, messaging becomes important while trying to explain a thought or idea. Rarely can an idea stand on it’s own. People need to understand what the idea is but most of all, understand why and how it applies to them.
Do you understand your own message? Is the messaging designed for you or the person on the receiving end?
Design the message for the person on the receiving end. Be clear in your own mind exactly what message you are trying to get across. You can’t expect them to understand it when you’re not sure yourself.
In my experience, there are at least three generations in the workplace. Each has their own way of processing information.
Boomers (generally the over 60 crowd) typically prefer to have paper in hand to read. Few are very active in social media so “tweeting” to them goes unnoticed. You’re more likely to get attention with a direct phone call or in person. Most don’t even care for email that much. Doing a presentation? Leave the PowerPoint behind. They want to hear from you.
Generation X (roughly the 40 – 60 crowd) is a little more receptive to modern technology but still not totally convinced. As a result, we still like the paper and phone but you might get away with email. By all means bring your projector and PowerPoint.
Millenials or Gen Y and under (Under 40) communicate very differently. Be brief, be bright, be gone. They move very fast and it’s hard to keep their attention very long. You are more likely to catch them with a direct “Tweet” than you are to get them on the phone. As an example, my son posted on Facebook when he arrived in Mexico because he knew it was expensive to call and there is no way his mother would let him get away with just a quick hello.
You have a message you want to communicate and you need to reach out to all the generations. In past, you could buy an ad or produce a pretty pamphlet. Today, you might do that but it’s only reaching a small demographic. If you want to reach them all, make sure you are clear on why it matters to them, and communicate your message in a way they will be open to receiving and will understand.
- Written material.
- Video, maybe something like Webex.
- Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Google+).
Does anyone remember when your parents complained they couldn’t understand the words to the songs you listened to? It’s no longer just songs. You need to appeal to all the senses and use language they understand.
Remember, you are communicating with at least three generations and we haven’t even touched on diversity!
Make it a great day!
P.S. What am I thankful for today? I’m thankful for technology. I’m thankful for diversity. I’m thankful for every grey hair! (The ones that are left.)
What are you thankful for today?