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How would Generation Y Cope with Work without the Internet?

How would Generation Y Cope with Work without the Internet?

ANNOUNCEMENT: I will not have the Internet for a few days!!!

What a dramatic status to put up.

I can still remember the whirr and click of the Internet dialing up when I was a kid. A 2 – 3 minute wait was great–what a fast connection!

It’s hard for me to remember the time before dial-up internet. Now it’s impossible for me to be off of it for more than an hour straight. What would happen to me working from out of the office if I didn’t have it? What old work methods would I have to learn?

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The generation below me has grown up with the Internet since birth. Could any of them understand what life was like before that? I just barely experienced it. The computer/Internet came to our house when I was eight years old. We used it to print horribly ugly school projects. Ugly, because we over-experimented with all the color combinations and page border options in MS Word. Before that, I vaguely remember my sister’s red typewriter, which was maddening to use. One typo, and the page was ruined! And just this year, the last typewriter ink tapes were produced, bringing forth the end of an era of technology that had dominated since the first printing press.

The Age of Impatience

What I’d personally find difficult if the Internet were to disappear tomorrow would be how much the world would appear to slow down. I would have to buy a newspaper or turn on the TV to see what was happening. I’d have to make more phone calls. I’d have to start remembering people’s numbers, not email addresses. My house would be full of paper–menus for ordering in, business cards, a diary filled with dates and notes, bills, letters…

Waiting would be normal. Nowadays, waiting is almost unacceptable.

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Without the Internet, what would Generation Y have to learn to use?

1. The postal service

Many postal services are being cut in my area despite the increase in online shopping. This means that receiving a letter from the local town council can take anywhere from three to ten days. A package can sometimes take two weeks. And it’s expensive! The joy of free emailing would turn into the frustration of paying many dollars for a registered envelope containing precious documents (after waiting for a substantial amount of time, usually).

  • Pro tip: In a hurry? Express post! That would still take 24 hours. Just FYI.

2. Telephone meetings

Telephone conferencing would still be possible without the Internet, of course, but there would be no more free VOIP conference calls! A real, live telephone bill will appear at the end of each month. The upside is that the cost of the call may make your meetings more efficient. Global virtual teamwork is not as pleasant without the video connection and may not be as good for team building. In fact, this is why the culture of 9-5 in-office originated. Things were a lot easier in person before the existence of the web.

  • Pro-tip: Your organizational skills will certainly be put to the test. Thinking ahead would be essential.

3. Searching and researching: libraries, books, archives (real ones!), filing cabinets, dictionaries, encyclopedias

Research? Try doing it without a search engine! This is where you start to appreciate the time and effort people put into their indexes and the wording of their titles when you are looking for the right information, and the diligence of whoever is in charge of the filing order. Search engines really have us spoiled. We even complain if we have to go past the first page of results!

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  • Pro-tip: Prepare very well what you are looking for in advance, in order not to waste hours of time reading irrelevant material

4. Reacting to content and giving your opinion

It would be close to crazy to have a fake identity or hidden identity in a letter correspondence. It could be done with an anonymous postbox, for sure, but casual commenting and the like would really not be feasible any more. Don’t get me wrong, people did (and do) write letters expressing their disagreement, approval or opinion with commentators, scientists, broadcasters, presenters and so on. However, quick-fire anonymous responding to others in the debate did not exist. Your knee-jerk reaction stayed firmly with you and only got discussed with those in your immediate vicinity.

  • Pro-tip: Use this slower form of communication to really build a good argument for your point. If your going to write a letter about it, don’t let it just be “A well-written piece. Nice job.”

5. People skills

Following on from the last point, it’s pretty hard to be anonymous in your communications (except by blocking your phone number, of course, or removing yourself from the telephone directory). But as well as that, nobody can search your life history, old party pictures, previous tweets and job status without going to a lot of trouble. You have a lot more control over what people know about you. Mirroring that, you also have a lot less available info on the people and organizations you are dealing with.

  • Pro-tip: Keep an open mind when getting to know new people. Don’t be bothered that you can’t spy on their LinkedIn profile or YouTube channel–it’s the same for them. Secrets are valuable and easier to hide. And if you’re worried about embarrassing photos, don’t dance on the table.

6. Cash

Yes, many more transactions would have to be dealt with in cold hard cash and many more trips to the bank would be required. Online payments would not exist–welcome back to reading out your credit card number over the phone! I personally find that when I use PIN to pay for groceries or buy online, I don’t feel as if I’m spending as much as when I hand over a $50 bill. I behave better financially when I use “real” money.

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  • Pro-tip: Use the opportunity to budget what cash you need for the week. You don’t want to wait in line at the bank every day. This system could result in much better money management by cutting spontaneous spending.

Could Gen Y handle it?

Sure! Humans are amazingly adaptable.

But they’d sure miss YouTube and Spotify!

More by this author

Andrea Francis

Andrea loves being productive and getting things done. She shares practical tips to help people achieve what they want in life.

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

You have to work hard to develop the right skills

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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2. Open up with a good ice breaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

  • Joking
  • Tugging on their heart strings
  • Dropping a bombastic statement
  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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7. Move around and use your hands

Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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