By Vincent Ivan Phipps, M.A., CSP
If you were born between 1983 – 1999, you are a Millennial. In other words, if you are reading this article in the year 2019, and you are between the ages of 20 – 36, you are a Millennial. By the way, if you are a true Millennial you have probably just Googled the word, “Millennial” to check my accuracy!
Which brings me to the mistakes Millennials make. My career gives me unique opportunity to be engulfed on both sides of the generational spectrum. I am fellow member of Generation X (born between 1965 – 1985). As the owner of a Communication VIP Training and Coaching, approximately 70 percent of my clients are GenX and Baby Boomers (born 1945 – 1964). I teach the GenX and Boomers how to improve sales and relationships by increasing their interpersonal communication and leadership skills. As a professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, approximately 80 percent of my students are Millennials. I teach the Millennials how to amplify their professionalism and speak with increase poise and confidence.
I hear the disgruntlement of both sides.
What GenX and Boomers say about Millennials:
- “This younger generation is lazy.”
- “Too much technology has made them soft.”
- “These youngsters have no clue about loyalty or hard work.”
What Millennials say about GenX and Boomers:
- “I feel sorry for anyone who had to work for the same company for over 5 years.”
- “Elders should learn technology instead of complaining about it.”
- “Old school and small-town values are becoming antiquated in the global market.”
The following is to increase awareness about mistakes Millennials make:
- Stop bragging about coming in on time. GenX and Boomers expect you to be early. You are supposed to be on time. When you brag about coming to work on time every day, the GenX and Boomers, see you are looking for praise for what they consider normal behavior.
- Stop complaining about being tired. GenX and Boomers were raised by the Silent Generation (born 1927 – 1945). The Silent Generation was (in my opinion), the hardest working generation. GenX and Boomers are accustomed to seeing their elders works hard both physically and mentally. When a person under 35 says, they are tired, it just makes GenX and Boomers feel even older!
- Stop trying to impress by staying late at work. Although you are expected to come to work early, by staying late; to a GenX and Boomers, it makes you look as if you mismanaged your time. Be efficient while at work. Arrive early but leave on time.
- Stop assuming the world wants to know everything about you. GenX and Boomers learned about others by flipping through pages from a family photo album. Posting live videos of yourself at the grocery store or uploading pictures of your cat sleeping, may seem to GenX and Boomers as you having an over-exaggerated opinion of your own self-worth.
- Stop texting. Start talking. GenX and Boomers know that texting is here to stay. But when a GenX/Boomer gets a text that starts out, “I need to ask you a question.” They are thinking, “Why didn’t you just call and ask the question?” or “Why didn’t you just text me your question?” According to PC World.com, 74 percent of Americans have smartphones and 66 percent of their phone usage is related to social media. Remember when phones were used to call people?
- Stop thinking social media is social. GenX and Boomers believe in face-to-face meetings, in-person interviews, reading handheld flyers, receiving paper mail, and shaking hands. Social media can be advantageous tools. Remain cognizant that too much social media may appear to a GenX/Boomer as counterproductive and make you seem, antisocial.
I have hired, fired, taught, worked with, and worked for Millennials. I think Millennials are awesome! (See, I used a Millennial word, “awesome”.)
As Millennials, you have the advantage of being at your physical peak during the summit of technological excellence. Remember to focus on what the past generations endured to enable you to mold our futures.
Vincent Ivan Phipps is owner of Communication VIP Training and Coaching. As a keynote speaker and corporate trainer, he teaches professionals how to build team rapport, reduce presentation mistakes, and increase revenue through client relationships. He is ranked in the top 1 percent of the world's best professional speakers and trainers. Vincent can be reached at 423.485.3464 or Vincent@CommunicationVIP.com