OMG our gnr8n is like totes taking over the job market, LOL. #GoldenYears
That sentence you just read encapsulates the problem of Generation-Y entering the workplace (along with painfully burning my retinas).
We’re stuck in our own ways of communicating. Our generation struggles to have — and hold — real, face-to-face conversations across generations. When there’s no flickering curser on a screen, we panic.
In an article in the City Press, Arno Kemp, a human resources expert at The Training Room Online, outlines that the root of Generation-Y’s communication problem comes from our dependence on messaging platforms.
We’ve full heartedly embraced these new forms of communication where stop-start conversations via texted replaced seamlessly-threaded vocal ones.
But being able to hold a real conversation in the work environment is crucial for progression up the corporate ladder.
So, how can we regain the ability to properly converse?
Well, grab a book (or listen to an audio book) and learn the old-school art of conversation via old-school methods.
The CD I grabbed (yes I still own a CD player) was "Do You Listen Enough?" by professional motivational speaker Godfrey Madanhire. It offered some of the following tips:
1. Listening can help to develop good conversational skills:
Seriously, just keep your abbreviations to yourself and listen. No one likes a troll in real life, so be polite and don’t interrupt. Be a sponge and absorb the information flowing your way.
2. No one is competing with you to be the best when having a conversation:
There’s no need for a Chandler Bing comeback for everything. There is no scorecard keeping track of your quips, unless you have one hidden in your own pocket.
As stated before, just listen and learn. There’s no need to respond to every point in a conversation, but don’t zone out either. You can nod or smile to show that you are, in fact, listening.
3. Less technology; more real people time:
I'm pretty sure there’s an awesome stat for how much time we spend on our mobile and digital devices, but you’re on your device right now, so the point has been proven.
Switch it off and have actual conversations with real people, face-to-face. It’s not difficult. Finish reading this article then switch it off.
4. If you’re not sure what to say, at least be interested:
In real life conversations, there is no Google button. If you have no idea how to respond, just ask a question about what they’re saying. Showing interest is not only the polite thing, but it helps extend the conversation. Maybe you’ll learn something.
But, let’s pause for a minute and consider the stuff we’re really so much better at than Gen-X:
-We’re the generation that understands the importance of immediacy and we’re able to easily share our emotions with others. Therefore, we’re better at building relationships than previous generations because we’re a little less repressed, even in the workplace.
-We don’t lack confidence. We know we’re awesome. Just listen and wait for the correct time to shine.
-There’s a reason why social networks have boomed in our era: it’s because we value social connections. Use this to your advantage and connect to other generations.
They’ll appreciate the effort. Plus, they have wisdom and insight, which we’ll have to wait for a while to get. So, let’s not just be tolerant toward them, let’s embrace those who preceded us on the corporate ladder.
-We’re literally wearing clothes from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Use this to relate across the generations, as they have loved the same products as you do now.
-If you want an employer to like you and converse with you, leave the “abbrevs” and “LOLs” at home. Cultivate your conversational skills by simply listening; the change will not go unnoticed.
Use your positive traits to impress employers. Building good relationships with them and your colleagues will put you ahead of your peers.
But, if you’re not willing to change, learn and adapt, then you should do what young adults of Generation-Y are known for: Move back in with your parents, whom I'm sure would love to shift their entertainment room back to your bedroom.