Cross-generational communication can be tough – business whiz Phillip Fernandez dishes up the dirt on how to get the most out of Generation X and Y.

When we are communicating with Gen X and Y, we must continually pique the interest of the listener as the average attention span has been steadily declining over the years. There is little point reeling off numerous details as the short-term memory has the capacity to only recall just five to nine items (Psychologist George Millar 1956). Therefore in communicating remember the Primary Effect (points made in the first minute) and the Recency Effect (points made last or the most recent things heard) will be the parts of the communication remembered most.

Most people today are a combination of kinesthic/visual learners, which means that they learn best through doing, experiencing and getting involved. Gen X and Y are no exceptions as surveys show 80% of students prefer this type of learning.

In order for any communicator or trainer to be effective today, they need to be creative, passionate and engaging; there are three points I want to touch on.

1) Structure your communication and training to staff by asking yourself three questions. What do I want them to Know? What do I want them to Feel? What do I want them to Do?

2) Use your personal experiences to help connect with them. They`ll value the transparency and insight unto your own journey.

3) It is a highly literate generation. For improved communication use real life examples, stories, metaphors, humour, role-plays, music, and visual aids (photos, videos, props etc.)

We also need new leadership paradigms to win them over as young people have grown up with leaders stating one thing but living another. The mentors they are looking for need to be authentic and ‘walk the talk’ – they need to understand the different generations’ core values.

• Baby boomers want the loyalty, respect, commitment and ethic they have demonstrated to be shown back to them
• Gen X and Y want a workplace that they can belong, which is stress-free, social, a warm friendly workplace, which values the environment, people and socio-economic concerns, even before profit.
• To provide a workplace culture that uses `team` language, develop fun traditions and tell them regularly that they are valued and supported.

It has been relentlessly reported that Gen Y and younger members of Gen X lack loyalty and it is true that they are brand fickle however they demonstrate strong loyalty to their friends and others to whom they feel they can trust. With this in mind, they are looking for leaders that can include, connect and unite.

Few have an ideal family background today, and many are delaying producing a family of their own, so Gen X and Gen Y are looking for new families in their friends, workmates and their company; there is increasingly less separation between our work and social lives which presents a challenge to the employer to align the two.

If you are experiencing difficulty in this area please feel free to email me or give me a call to make a two hour complimentary appointment at your convenience.

P: 1300 747 389
M: 0402 213 813