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Millennials and Their Spending Habits: How It’s Shaping the World

Millennials and Their Spending Habits: How It’s Shaping the World

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, the 80’s and 90’s kid or those born between 1980 and 2000 are slowly changing the world economy as we see it today. By far the largest generation comprising of more than 70 million individuals in the United States, overtaking the population of baby boomers, Millennials are the most influential and promising group in shaping the modern world.

Their influence felt in areas such as science, math, and arts is redefining various industries, creating waves of change, and breaking ‘traditional ways’ to cater their new way of thinking and ideologies.

Having been raised during the time of rapid technological growth, Millennials have the most influence over old generations and are considered the biggest trendsetters of our world today. Despite being career-driven, skilled, and highly educated, Millennials are often considered financially doomed and unstable.

Graduating and going into adulthood during the economic recession, Millennials spending habits are affecting the economy in large measures especially in areas of marketing, finance and technology.

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The Death of Ads

Decades ago all you need to do was pour your money into advertising and your brand is setup for success. However, today, this isn’t the case anymore. Millennials and their incessant craving for authenticity have come to understand how sneaky advertisements can be. More often than not, messages used by advertisers are known to trigger emotional rather than rational responses among consumers.

It’s no wonder Millennials don’t trust commercials, and are often the ones who avoid and despise adverts in Facebook and other websites. Although, not generalizing, a  baby boomer might fall prey to adverts masquerading as good deals all over the media, but a millennial will be wiser and will know even in just one look which advert is authentic or not. This is not only making advertising a lot harder for companies, it’s also making them reevaluate their traditional marketing methods.

Brands and Social Media

It should also come as no surprise that Millennials prefer brands that interact with consumers on digital channels. Nowadays, it’s almost customary for brands to have their own Facebook and Twitter pages. Millennials want brands to be participative in terms of their experience. They want to engage with brands to learn more about the products.

The thing is: Millennials value authenticity. Content is good, but lack of authenticity may lead them to draw back from trusting a company or a site. They want blogs that connect with people. This is why social media is as much a growing industry today more than it was decades ago.

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The Rise of Online Shopping

The traditional way of shopping is slowly becoming a thing of the past. The convenience of online stores is drawing Millennials and making it hard for in-store retailers to keep up with their digital competitors.

Millennials are so fond of purchasing online; they would gladly wait a few days to get their order delivered, than to march on to the nearest mall or supermarket. Online shopping also allows them to be selective and be able to review their options wisely.

Renting vs Owning a House

The fall of economy has made a major impact on Millennials, many of whom are still having a hard time paying off their student loans, living with their parents, or are currently underemployed. This makes renting homes a far better option to this generation.

Millennials who are now in their early 20’s or 30’s are on the phase where they’d like to get married and start a family. However, they can’t afford to both start a family and own a house at the same time. Traveling which is a common millennial dream prevents them to settle down and buy a house of their own. All this makes renting a far better option than owning a house. .

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Growth of the Sharing Economy

Much of the sharing economy’s growth can be attributed to the Millennials. Millennials find the sharing practice not only thrifty, it’s also a great way to reduce consumption and space in the world. Think about it, why would you need to buy a house if you’re going to travel all the time? Why would you buy a nice ride, if you can ride one for a cheaper option?

James O’Connell, CEO of JDP, explains this behavior of Millennials from a mental standpoint.

He says, “Millennials believe in making a difference with their spending habits… Companies like Uber and Airbnb are doing so well because their business plan taps into that mindset so completely.”

Brands and Their Positive Impact in the World        

By nature, Millennials are inherently cosmopolitan. Growing up on the period of globalization and boom of technology, they are more attuned and interested to global issues. Thus, they also love to view their purchases through a global lens. In a recent study, Millennials were found to purchase more environmentally or socially responsible products and love to donate their money and time on charity.

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Brands have to give back something to society. At least that’s how Millennials believes it should be. Millennials are tired of corporate greed, after the world’s recovery of one of its largest financial crisis – they want to see more sharing and giving.

Through their unique but progressive ways, Millennials are preparing the world for the future. Everyone has their own opinions about this generation – but one thing is for sure: they are calling the shots now and the world will just have to listen.

Featured photo credit: Bench Accounting via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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