Communication Styles of the Generations

In the tech world, we are seeing an increased demand of "soft skills," characteristics that make for stronger, more effective candidates. Leadership, team building, conflict resolution, time management, and one of the biggest...communication!

Because of that increase in demand, we have been researching those skills a bit more and defining what makes a strong communicator. One of the biggest factors we found was generational characteristics. How we communicate or prefer to be communicated to centers on our generation.

Where you aware there are four distinct groups in the workforce today?  There are the Matures, the Baby Boomers, the Generation X and the Millennials.  Each has their own “style” or preferred method of communicating and if you don’t meet them in their comfort zone, you may have a very frustrating time trying to get your point across or impart information.

The Matures

To communicate with a Mature it's important to focus on words rather than body language or inferences.  Do not expect this generation to share their thought immediately.  Face to face or written communication is their preferred style.  The communication should be formal, regardless if it is written or oral.

Baby Boomer

When communicating with a Baby Boomer your body language is important. Try to speak with an open, direct style avoiding controlling language as they are anti-establishment.  Make sure you answer their questions completely and expect to be pressed for details.  Also, try to present options to demonstrate flexibility in your thinking.

Generation X

You should remember when communicating with a Generation X individual to take care to talk in short sound bites to keep their attention.  Make sure you ask for their feedback and provide them with regular feedback. Use an informal style and strive to keep them in the loop.  Email is their preferred method of communication.


With the Millennials the best course to follow is to use action words and challenge them at every opportunity.  They will resent it if you talk down to them.  Like the Gen Xers, they prefer email communication and require feedback on a constant basis.  With the Millennials, make the environment fun and by all means do not take yourself too seriously.

So if you are struggling in your communication with others in your workplace - stop and think about in which age group the individual falls and which one is yours.  Then try to approach them in a manner that is within their comfort zone not your own.  You just might be surprised at your next interaction.


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