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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 April 23, 2019

                  13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently

                  13 Ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently

                  Let me begin by being 100% frank with you – everyone is capable of happiness.

                  Happiness is first a choice but it also takes persistence to maintain. Happiness is our birth right and my mission is to help as many people as I can live their happiest life.

                  My mission is to spread the message that everyone deserves happiness.

                  To live a happy life; however, you must do the work, gain the necessary knowledge, and increase your awareness.

                  You must fully embody this state and begin to think and feel happiness on every level of your being.

                  Often times, excuses present themselves and our mind gives us the reasons why we can’t be happy:

                  “I am too busy right now to focus on happiness”

                  “I will be happy when I finish school, when I have the money, when I am in the right relationship, when I have kids, when my children are older….”

                  “I would have had a happy life if this traumatic event had never happened”

                  “I don’t deserve happiness”

                  EVERYONE deserves happiness. The reason that you are here right now is because you have a purpose and you are on the earth to enjoy your journey.

                  Think BIGGER than your excuses. Push FARTHER than your complaints.

                  Don’t be pulled away from greatness. Get uncomfortable. At least these are what happy and successful people do on a daily basis.

                  This article highlights the top 13 tips and tricks of how happy people think and feel.

                  If you would like to begin embodying this life-changing state, then… Here are the 13 ways Happy People Think and Feel Differently:

                  1. Happy People Put Happiness First

                  Happy people have made the decision that their end goal is happiness.

                  Every situation, event, bad day ultimately ends with happiness.

                  To them, happiness is equivalent to sleep and water – it is a necessity to their life. To live an unhappy life is to have never lived at all.

                  The happy person asks,

                  “What would be the point of living if every day and moment were filled with negativity?”

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                  “Why would I deplete my energy on negativity when I expend less to be positive?”

                  They make happy-based decisions which means in EVERY MOMENT they choose happiness.

                  If their circumstances can’t change then they instead change their perspective, they look for the silver lining in the negative.

                  Happy people don’t let negativity steal their moments away – a positive mindset always prevails.

                  If you ask a happy person how their day was, they will always answer your question with a highlight or a lesson learned.

                  2. Happy People Embrace Pain

                  I know what you are thinking –

                  “No one is ALWAYS happy”

                  or …

                  “Even happy people get in bad moods”

                  and …

                  These statements are absolutely accurate.

                  Happy people aren’t always happy and they DO get into bad moods. They get overwhelmed, they feel defeated, and their feelings get hurt.

                  Happy people aren’t invincible and they feel pain just like everyone else. The only difference between happy people and people who let negativity run their lives is that…

                  Happy people quickly acknowledge their pain and they make a decision to find a way to transform their pain into something greater. They also use these 13 simple ways to shake off the sadness.

                  Happy people admit the negativity they feel and they do what it takes to get back into their natural state: happiness.

                  When your end goal is happiness, then you will find a way to achieve it no matter how much strength you have to muster.

                  3. Happy People Have a Happy Self-Image

                  We all have an image in our minds that we subconsciously live up to.

                  The reason that change is so hard is because our subconscious mind is programmed to live by how we define ourselves.

                  How are you currently defining yourself?

                  For happy people, they see themselves with a smile, positive outlook, and/or a bounce in their step. When an event or situation arises that brings in a negative emotion, they quickly change their state to resemble their natural self-image.

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                  When happy people are in a bad mood, it feels unusual to them because feeling negative isn’t aligned with how they see themselves.

                  When they feel upset, they acknowledge the negativity and look for a solution to bring their emotions to the level of how they perceive themselves.

                  Look at how you define yourself today – your mind and body are always trying to live up to the definition it is taught to believe.

                  Your body’s job is to keep you in a “normal” state because this is where it feels most comfortable.

                  If your self-image is happy, then your mind and body will naturally be brought back to where it feels at home. Your actions will be a clue to how you define yourself.

                  4. Happy People Have a Strong Support System

                  The happiest people know that it takes a village and they lean on others for support.

                  Happy people feel comfortable reaching out for help when they feel that their resistances are overpowering them. They quickly sense their negativity and they tell somebody.

                  Happy people ask for assistance when they can’t figure out a problem. Seeking help takes strength and it never gets in the way of their self-worth. Happy people appreciate the wisdom that their support system provides.

                  They have strong connections with the people who are close to them. They never trudge through tough times alone because jeopardizing their happiness for too long would be detrimental to their well-being.

                  5. Happy People Safeguard Their Minds from Negative Triggers

                  Warding off negativity is almost impossible when we live in a society that lives by what went wrong and feeds off of what could go wrong. News travels instantaneously so it would be unrealistic to shut this out of your life completely.

                  However, one strategy that happy people use to safeguard their minds is regulating their environment.

                  We have a lot of control on how we allow our environments to affect us. We can control our social media feed, the television shows and movies we watch, the books that we read, the people that we spend our time with, and the places that we hang out.

                  If happiness is your end goal, then take a good look at what is bringing you down. What triggers your unhappiness? See if there is anything in your environment that can be changed……

                  What we listen to, read, and who we hang out with influence our mind, what we think about, what we worry about, our reactions, and behaviors.

                  Happy people know what triggers a feeling of negativity and it feels out of alignment for them so they do what it takes to avoid it.

                  They might regulate their social media news feed to reflect the information that brings them positive energy. They might regulate the people that they spend their time with. It is important to hang out with like-minded people.

                  What are you triggers? How can you avoid the negativity in your environment?

                  These are ways that happy people regulate their environment and safeguard their minds.

                  6. Happy People Know When to Say “No”

                  Happy people know when to sit one out and say “no.” They do this to protect their happiness and well-being.

                  Life gets overwhelming – a lot of people need our attention and the to do list can seem never ending.

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                  Happy people give themselves permission to take the day off and they feel comfortable with saying “no” when their stress levels begin to climb. They understand that those around them aren’t benefiting from someone who is frazzled, overwhelmed, and tired.

                  A happy person identifies their negative emotion and then they quickly treat it to bring themselves back to their “normal” state, so that they can be at their best for not only themselves but for those around them, too.

                  A simple “no” can ultimately mean many more “yes’s” in the future because happiness has a long battery life. You can take a look at Leo Babauta’s article The Gentle Art of Saying No and learn to say no.

                  7. Happy People Are Good Evaluators

                  Happy people can quickly sense when something is off with themselves or others. They are very intuitive to happiness levels. When someone isn’t quite right, they are the first ones to notice.

                  Being able to evaluate happiness means that you can identify when negativity is lingering around for too long.

                  We all have bad days; however, the happy person evaluates often and quickly intervenes.

                  In other words, happy people frequently evaluate their state and immediately change when their pessimism is overshadowing their joy.

                  8. Happy People Bring Other People Up

                  What goes on inside of us is mirrored into our physical world.

                  What we think about literally consumes our life and is displayed in our work, relationships, and attitude.

                  Happy people naturally feel good inside and about themselves so they treat others the way that they treat themselves. It never feels forced to give a compliment or to help out a stranger.

                  When we are truly happy with ourselves, everyone around us has a better experience. Happy people are kind to themselves and because of this, it feels natural to them to want to make others’ happy, too.

                  9. Happy People Go After Their Dreams

                  Happy people are always following the joyful path. They make happy-based decisions and because of this, they always end up where they want to be.

                  It’s absolutely impossible to be happy by following an undesirable path, which is quite opposite for unhappy people.

                  Most people journey through life on a path they think they are “supposed” to be own. Warning signs (negativity) are often ignored because they truly believe that these feelings are a normal part of life.

                  Negativity is NOT normal.

                  The happiest people investigate the negativity in their life and quickly analyze the results. This process allows them to get back on the joyful path which ends in a desirable outcome.

                  Follow your happiness and your dreams will come true (If that isn’t motivation then I don’t know what is!)

                  In addition to happiness, here are 14 amazing things that happen when you live your passion.

                  10. Happy People Never Sweat the Small Stuff

                  The only expectation that the happy person has is that they remain in a joyful state.

                  They rarely have expectations for the events and people in their lives because they know that this is a sure way to get let down.

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                  The happiest people take life as it comes – you could say that they roll with the punches. When you don’t have expectations, thenyoue can just sit back and watch how beautifully life unfolds.

                  Happy people understand that bad things are inevitable, they are a part of life – The car will break, the kids will make mistakes, people will be late, and dinner will burn.

                  If it’s not anything seriously affecting their lives, then they don’t give their energy to it.

                  11. Happy People Rarely Have to Prove That They Are Right

                  Happy people remember that it’s more important to live up to what they believe. When you live your life aligned with your belief system, then there is no need to explain or prove yourself to others.

                  Differences in opinions are inevitable, but the happiest of people know it’s wasted energy to defend their position.

                  It is more effective to simply show people, through actions, how you think, feel, and what you believe.

                  Energy is saved, arguments are diminished, and credibility/respect are gained when we live by what we believe.

                  12. Happy People Smile (Even When They Don’t Want To)

                  Smiling is one of the healthiest things we can do; and happy people use this simple trick quite often.

                  It has been proven that smiling has the ability to boost your immune system, decrease stress levels, and can even make you look younger. The benefits of smiling have even been backed up by science.[1]

                  Better yet, smiling is contagious. When you engage in a quick smile, you are likely to brighten someone else’s day along with your own. It is no wonder why happy people smile often!

                  13. Happy People Live Life in the Present Moment.

                  When we are genuinely happy, we are living for the moment.

                  Happy people let go of the past, enjoy the present, and look forward to the future. They take the moments for what they are worth – they only invest their energy in what feels right to them.

                  Everyone is capable of living a happy-centered life. You deserve a life that you desire – your dream life. All you have to start doing is make happy-based decisions TODAY.

                  In every moment, decide on what makes you happy – decide on what gets you excited. Stop doing what you don’t love, don’t listen to the people that you dislike.

                  If you are engaging in something that isn’t bringing you joy, then quit doing it. Listen to your heart, stop ignoring the warning signs (negativity) because they are there for a reason.

                  I have observed, studied, and interviewed some of the happiest and most successful people along with some of the most miserable and self-loathing.

                  It starts with one decision – happiness.

                  The happiest, most successful people choose happiness with EACH and EVERY decision. And you can start doing this today.

                  Featured photo credit: Autumn Goodman via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1] Harvard Business Review: The Science Behind the Smile

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