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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.

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    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.

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    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.

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      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.

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        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.

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          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.

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          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.

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            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.

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              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.

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                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.

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                  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.

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                  Elizabeth Andal

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

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                  Last Updated on October 17, 2019

                  How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Partner

                  How to Spend More Quality Time with Your Partner

                  You see your partner every single day. They are the first person you talk to in the morning and the last person you kiss goodnight.

                  But does seeing each other day in and day out equal a healthy relationship? Not necessarily.

                  Spending quality time with your partner is the best way to ensure your relationship stays healthy and strong. This means going above and beyond sitting together while you watch Netflix or going out for the occasional dinner. You deserve more from your relationship – and so does your spouse!

                  What does quality time mean? It means spending time with your spouse without interruption. It’s a chance for you to come together and talk. Communication will build emotional intimacy and trust.

                  Quality time is also about expressing love in a physical way. Not sex, necessarily (but that’s great, too!) but through hand-holding, cuddling, caressing, and tickling. Studies show that these displays of affection will boost partner satisfaction.[1]

                  So how do you spend quality time with your partner? Here are 13 relationship tips on making the most out of your time with your partner.

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                  1. Recognize the Signs

                  If you want a healthy relationship, you have to learn how to recognize the signs that you need to spend more quality time together.

                  Some telltale signs include:

                  • You’re always on your phones.
                  • You value friendships or hobbies over quality time with your spouse.
                  • You aren’t together during important events.
                  • You are arguing more often or lack connection.
                  • You don’t make plans or date nights.
                  • You’re not happy.

                  If you are experiencing any of these relationship symptoms, know that quality time together can reverse the negative effects of the signs above.

                  2. Try New Things Together

                  Have you ever wanted to learn how to play an instrument or speak another language? How about skydive or ballroom dance?

                  Instead of viewing these as solo hobbies and interests, why not involve your partner?

                  Trying new activities together builds healthy relationships because it encourages spouses to rely on one another for emotional and physical support.

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                  Shared hobbies also promote marital friendship, and the Journal of Happiness Studies found that marital satisfaction was twice as high for couples who viewed each other as best friends.[2]

                  3. Schedule in Tech-Free Time

                  Your phone is a great way to listen to music, watch videos, and keep up-to-date with friends and family. But is your phone good for your relationship?

                  Many couples phone snub, or ‘phub’, one another. Studies show that phubbing can lower relationship satisfaction and increase one’s chances of depression.[3]

                  Reduce those chances by removing distractions when spending quality time together and showing your partner they have your full attention.

                  4. Hit the Gym as a Couple

                  One way you can spend more time together as a couple is by becoming workout partners. Studies show that couples are more likely to stay with their exercise routine if they work out together.[4] Couples also work out harder than they would solo. One study found that 95 percent of couples who work out together maintained weight loss compares to the 66 percent of singles who did.[5]

                  Join a gym, do at-home couples’ workouts, try couples yoga, hit the hiking trails, or get your bikes out. No matter which way you choose to exercise, these healthy activities can promote a healthy relationship.

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                  5. Cook Meals Together

                  Pop open a bottle of wine or put some romantic music on while you get busy – in the kitchen, of course!

                  One of the best relationship tips for spending quality time together when you both have busy schedules is to cook meals together.[6]

                  Spice things up and try and prepare a four-course meal or a fancy French dish together. Not only is this a fun way to spend your time together, but it also promotes teamwork.

                  If all goes well, you’ll have a romantic date night meal at home that you prepared with your four hands. And if the food didn’t turn out the way you’d hoped, you are guaranteed to have a laugh and create new memories together.

                  6. Have a Regular Date Night

                  Couples experience a greater sense of happiness and less stress when they are spending quality time together.[7] One of the biggest relationship tips for a healthy partnership is to include a date night in your weekly routine.

                  The National Marriage Project found that having a weekly date night can make your relationship seem more exciting and helps prevent relationship boredom.[8] It also lowers the probability of divorce, improves your sex life, and increases healthy communication.

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                  Some great ideas for what to do on your date night include:

                  • Have a movie marathon – Gather up your favorite flicks and cuddle up on the couch.
                  • Play games together – Cards, board games, video games, and other creative outlets are a fun way to spend quality time together.
                  • Recreate your first date – Go back to that restaurant and order the same meal you did when you first got together. You can spice up your evening by pretending you’re strangers meeting for the first time and see how sexy the night gets.
                  • Plan a weekend getaway – There’s nothing better than traveling with the one you love.
                  • Dinner and a movie – A classic!
                  • Try a new restaurant – Make it your mission to rate and try all of the Mexican restaurants/Irish pubs/Italian trattorias in your area.
                  • Have a long sex session – Intimacy promotes the release of the oxytocin hormone which is responsible for a myriad of great feelings.[9]

                  Here’re even more date night ideas for your reference: 50 Unique and Really Fun Date Ideas for Couples

                  Final Thoughts

                  The benefits of spending quality time together are endless. Here are just some of the ways it can contribute to a healthy relationship:

                  • Improves emotional and physical intimacy
                  • Lowers divorce rates
                  • Improves communication
                  • Reduces marital boredom
                  • Bonds couples closer
                  • Improves friendship
                  • Boosts health
                  • Reduces stress

                  These are all excellent reasons to start making date night a regular part of your week.

                  It’s easy to have a healthy relationship when you set aside dedicated time to share with your spouse. Try new things together, make your spouse your workout buddy, and look for innovative ways to be close and connected.

                  These relationship tips will bring great benefits to your marriage.

                  Featured photo credit: Allen Taylor via unsplash.com

                  Reference

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