Advertising
Advertising

8 Communication Skills to Overcome the Generation Gap

8 Communication Skills to Overcome the Generation Gap

In every generation, communication plays a vital role towards a functional society. With recent breakthroughs in medical technology, people are living longer and choosing to remain in the workforce for longer. It comes as no surprise that several distinct generations are mingling more now than ever before, and communication between these groups is increasingly important and challenging.

30_1

    1. Be aware of different forms of communication

    Whether it is within the workforce or with friends and relatives, methods of communication between generations vary extensively. A majority of the oldest generation, known as the ‘matures’ or ‘veterans’ are retired and most likely grandparents. Face-to-face communication is preferential, similarly with the next generation known as the ‘baby boomers’. A lack of communication in person can lead veterans to feel unappreciated and offended as they tend to emphasize little importance in today’s texting and social media revolution.

    Further towards the younger generations, starting with the baby boomers, technology begins to become more acceptable as a form of communication. Generation X, third down the line, is generally comfortable with web-based communication such as conference calling, but still may resist the social movement. The youngest generation, known as Generation Y, or the ‘millennials,’ grew up around the technology and social media movement, therefore this type of web-based communication is weighed as equally respectable.

    Advertising

    With such a drastic difference, especially between the matures and those of generation Y, it is important to understand the pros and cons each media of communication. While older generations prefer face-to-face communication, it can be argued that cosmopolitanism is prominent in today’s society and often it is necessary to connect with people who live either too far away to meet in person or overseas. While agreeably, communication face-to-face is a more effective way to form close, personal relationships, digital methods of communication is an equally effective way to connect with people living far away.

    Digital communication is also instantaneous. While the effort taken to meet with someone can be the source of the personal relationship, instant messaging, texting or calling is faster and generally more economical, therefore its relevance cannot be so easily ruled out. All methods of communication have pros and cons, but the more thoroughly they are understood, the easier it will be to bridge the communication gap between generations.

      Photo: stockimages

      2. Understand the relevance of formality

      We live in an era of SMS, instant messaging, colloquialisms and slang, predominantly established by the millennials. When e-mail was first introduced as a substitute for sending letters, it started off with formatting as formal as those typed and handwritten notes would have been. Consequently, it can be difficult for matures and baby boomers to accept and adapt to the progressively informal speech surrounding today’s society.

      The slang and colloquialisms used by younger generations can be perceived by older generations as uneducated and an indication of lack of effort in communication. Formal communication can appear nicer to read and carries more value in terms of effort. However it is sometimes faster and easier to use slang and abbreviations for small, less important issues, whether it’s in the workplace or with family and friends. The issue with formality presents itself through digital media, rather than face-to-face communication.

      Advertising

      While being formal in every form of communication media, it should be considered whether or not it is necessary. If a relative is picking you up from an airport, it might be easier to type a quick ‘here’ text rather than a long-winded, formal explanation of the fact that you have arrived. Such an explanation can be left for a face-to-face conversation or a phone call. In regards to speech informality, it is important for the older generations to understand that most languages are fluid and continuously changing. At the same time, it is also important for younger generations to realize that these changes in the language can be challenging to adapt to.

      ID-100299611
        Photo: stockimages

        3. Respect that values differ between generations

        It is obvious that younger generations do not share a majority of personal values that the older generations hold on to. This is obvious in forms ranging from clothing preferences to the chosen methods of communicating and forming relationships. It is very important to be aware of these differences, as to not to come off as offensive. Towards the younger generations, values tend to be less conservative than the older generations. Consequently, communication without fallout can become difficult.

        Even within families, disputes can break out over a lack of perceived respect, mainly from the younger generations. In order to avoid such situations, it is important to understand and take into consideration the differences on both ends of the generational scale. For example, in a mature’s time, unmarried, live-in partners would not have been something common or acceptable, which it now is to younger generations. While there will always be disagreement, if both sides take the time to gain an understanding of opposite opinions, it will be much easier to avoid coming off as offensive.

        ID-10046879
          Photo: stockimages

          4. Values also differ in the workplace

          For the first time in history, four different generations appear in the workforce at the same time. While it is a great development and offers a great deal more variety than ever before, it presents its own set of challenges. Older generations, especially the matures, experience a sense of pride towards their jobs, viewing them as predominantly ways to provide for their families. Millennials will tend to stay with the same job, working their way up, as they will tend to constantly move from one job to the next.

          Advertising

          Older generations can often mistake this as incompetence and lack of work ethic. However it makes sense to younger generations to keep their options flexible and extend their opportunities in the workplace. Adding to the perceived laziness of the younger generations, they also require a great deal of feedback and value peer opinions quite highly, which can be mistaken as being ‘spoon fed’ through their work. For effective communication within the workplace, these stigmas need to be understood more thoroughly from both end of the generational spectrum.

          ID-100266502
            Photo: stockimages

            5. Rabbit ears

            The overall factor influencing effective communication across generations is the willingness to listen and learn. Having ‘rabbit ears’ will result in less disputes and more productivity in communication, both inside the workplace and outside, with relatives, strangers and friends.

            Having Rabbit ears means listening not just to what is said but how it is said. This can give both cues on topics that are sensible to discuss between generations and also helps to gain more understanding of each side’s values and opinions. It is all about listening and learning from one another.

            ID-100250044
              Photo: stockimages

              6. Be wary of sensitive topics

              When communicating between generations, especially with strangers or people who are unfamiliar, it may be best to avoid sensitive topics such as politics and religion. The relevance of these topics in the millennial age is not the same as it was in the time of the matures, and disagreement can easily erupt. While at a dinner with unfamiliar or familiar people, nothing can make it more awkward than a sudden generational dispute about homosexuality or abortion.

              Advertising

              146H
                Photo: gratisography.com

                7. Right words at the right time

                Communication can break down when wrong words are spoken at the wrong time. Diplomacy is saying the right words at the right time. In terms of communication barriers between generations, this means bringing up those sensitive topics once you know both sides of the conversation are comfortable with generational differences and are willing to accept each other’s opinions without dispute. Taking the time to reach this stage of compliance will result in the most productive discussions, since generations worth of information can be received.

                hands-460865_1280

                  8. Wisdom comes with age vs the resilience of youth

                  Young people can avoid heartache by listening to the voice of experience, whereas older people can learn to “roll with the punches,” as the younger generations tend to do. This can come back to the workforce, wherein young people often move around between several jobs in their lifetime. Advice given by older people in the same field of work can be extremely valuable, especially when it comes to avoiding unprecedented failure. At the same time, the rigidity of the older generations’ work structure can find the flexibility of the younger generation beneficial.

                  More by this author

                  Elizabeth Andal

                  Elizabeth is a passionate writer who shares about lifestyle tips and lessons learned in life on Lifehack.

                  10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On 15 Things Narcissists Don’t Do 10 Signs You Are Dating A Great Guy Who You Should Never Let Go 10 Things You’ve Never Considered About People With Tattoos 8 Amazing Benefits of Grapes (+5 Refreshing Recipes)

                  Trending in Communication

                  1 5 Steps to Cultivate a Positive Mental Attitude 2 9 Ways to Prepare for Change and Live Your Dream Life 3 7 Steps to Start Living Your Dream Life Right Now 4 How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want 5 What Happiness Is and Is Not: The True Meaning of Being Happy

                  Read Next

                  Advertising
                  Advertising
                  Advertising

                  Last Updated on August 19, 2019

                  How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

                  How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

                  We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

                  When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

                  In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

                  Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

                  If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

                  According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

                  No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

                  When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

                  Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

                  1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

                  When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

                  Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

                  When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

                  Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

                  In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

                  Advertising

                  It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

                  You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

                  Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

                  What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

                  You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

                  That’s where we all should be.

                  So, answer me this:

                  How are you, really?

                  And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

                  Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

                  Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

                  Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

                  Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

                  It’s taking control.

                  Advertising

                  2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

                  You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

                  You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

                  In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

                  Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

                  You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

                  Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

                  But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

                  It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

                  In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

                  It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

                  Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

                  Change will happen.

                  Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

                  You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

                  Advertising

                  And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

                  You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

                  That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

                  You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

                  When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

                  There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

                  3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

                  Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

                  In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

                  If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

                  Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

                  Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

                  How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

                  Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

                  “Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

                  Advertising

                  Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

                  Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

                  It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

                  Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

                  “If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

                  What would you do if you felt you were enough?

                  By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

                  So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

                  Final Thoughts

                  By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

                  Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

                  When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

                  You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

                  More About Living Your True Self

                  Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  Read Next