Millennials Make Disrupting Normal

Millennials have exponentially contributed to the world and instead of making things more complicated have simplified it. Keep it Simple Stupid (KISS) doesn’t get more simple than an RSS (really simple syndication) feed. You can have your entire world delivered to you a la carte, all while you have an international meeting from your living room! Millennials have turned the traditional work environment into an RSS feed.

The world has changed, but communication and information has become better, more accessible and yielded more models for working together than ever before.

But, Why Don’t They Like Face to Face?

The real rub with Millennials is not the ease and accessibility they desire for much of life’s basic needs. It’s more the communication preferences that seem to have most folks irked. It’s not that they don’t like speaking, it’s that they recognize it’s a skill set many have not mastered. We gravitate towards things we like doing and we usually like doing thing that we are skilled at.

Growing up, I was eager to learn handwriting. Cursive was par for the course in 4th grade, and I loved it. Later when word processing really came on the scene, I learned to type like a madwoman. Pagers opened up a world of secret codes: 143 means “I love you” and 121 means “I need to talk to you”. And then Nokia’s came on the scene and texting started to change our world. And true to form, just like everything else, we found a faster, more efficient way to do something. Why spell out y-o-u when U communicates just as much? With each new innovation, we learned and adapted to the language of the time. It took a full school year to learn cursive and only after spending PreK through 3rd learning how to print.

Fast forward to 2017, I can learn to make a meme from my phone in a matter of minutes and then post it to the world to convey an emotion or idea to people I have never met before. That’s powerful, and it’s easy to master.

Maybe, the best way to get Millennials to speak to you is to start a conversation. I guarantee both parties will walk away better for it.

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have helped us connect more, and not just communicate with words, but with images like memes, emojis, and live video. If a picture is worth a thousand words, my generation has taught us all how to say more in a 40 second video or well constructed photo collage, than anyone else. That’s doing more with less. That’s efficiency in action.

The advances in written communication astound us, but spoken communication has not advanced in the same way. In person communication is still nuanced, and full of human subjectivity, cultural bias, non verbal cues and anxieties. Regardless of when you were born, the spoken word, though intensely powerful when done well, is most often done terribly wrong, and is riddled with physical signs of anxiety – sweaty palms, heart palpitations, nausea, panic – for the speaker.

The fix? There are some great public speaking courses out there that address raising your skill in this area. But, while waiting to join Toastmasters or take a course to Own the Room, maybe, the best way to get Millennials to speak to you, is to start a conversation. I guarantee both parties will walk away better for it.

Learn The Lingo

Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers would have you believe, that Gen Y (the Millennials) has ruined the world, and made it overly complicated, but doesn’t every generation come to a point where they wish for “simpler times” and curse “kids today”? Change is uncomfortable. We all get that. The only difference is now, those “kids” are at work, sitting across the table from you, running the cool exciting start up you just joined, and vying for leadership positions. And those “kids” communicate differently. Don’t be mad that Millennials are changing the world of work. Be happy they have found new ways to communicate – and then learn the language so you aren’t left in the dark.

Claim Your Millenialism

And for all you Gen Y-ers out there insisting you aren’t “one of them”, it’s time to wear you generation with pride. Reclaim your millennialism. Talking ‘bout my generation? You should. We are awesome and we are forever changing the world. Millennials stand up!


What’s your preferred communication method at work? Why? Leave a note in the comments.

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