Being able to communicate properly is at the core of business. Unfortunately, we are bombarded with a constant stream of emails and messages asking for our opinions and giving company updates. This may have worked for businesses previously, but it is common knowledge that millennials expect more technically advanced communication. By the year 2030, millennials are predicated to make up 75% of the workforce. Organizations must adapt to effectively communicate with this younger demographic. However, millennials must also learn how to communicate professionally in the workplace. Luckily, we’ve put together a list of tips for how millennials can better communicate with millennials and how millennials can better communicate with their colleagues.
Tips for Millennials
Consider What a Greeting Can Say About You
When sending emails, instant messages, or texts, always use a formal tone when addressing the other person. Start the email as if it were being sent to the head of the company. DO NOT start emails with “Yo” or “What’s up everyone”. Start with Dear Mr. or Good afternoon Ms. Always err on the side of being too professional rather than too causal. This will increase credibility with both colleagues and outside contacts. While a company may be more casual, when in doubt, always go formal. A good rule of thumb is to have the greeting and signature in the email be the same as how the other party is addressing their emails to keep the consistency of the conversation similar.
Make sure to listen to everything your boss or peers say, especially in meetings. Do not be the person asking about specific details again after they were already discussed. Active listening can help build strong and professional relationships with colleagues.
Listening isn’t always just verbal. Read non-verbal cues as well to learn about people, build relationships, and gain trust. Do they straighten up when they talk about their favorite NFL team? Ask them what they thought of the Superbowl or what their predictions are for the upcoming season. Do they have photos of their children on their desk? Ask for names and follow up about how well 9-year-old Katie performed in the school play. People of all ages and rank love to talk about themselves. If you give them the chance to do so, you will build a rapport that will go a long way for you in your career. (Just make sure it is genuine!)
Be Willing to Unplug
With the rapid development of technology, millennials are constantly plugged in. Laptop, TV, smart phone, smart watch, tablet, or whatever new tech is out there, millennials know how to use it. Millennials are often criticized for glancing at their phones multiple times just to see if they have a new notification. The point is, millennials are tied into everything. The willingness to unplug and be in the now goes a long way in life and professional communications. With no tech around, colleagues can bond better and it can improve communication because colleagues have deeper connections. It states, “I value what you have to say” without you saying a word.
Watch your Tone
When sending emails, texts, and instant messages it can be extremely difficult to convey your tone. Over a digital message, you may think you are being charming, but the other person may think you were trying to be sarcastic. Trying to keep tone out of messages is hard, but by keeping tone out of messages you are enabling your messages to come across clear and reduce misunderstandings – an important consideration in the workplace.
Don’t Do It Halfway
Sometimes working on projects can be vague, difficult to understand, and leave you with no sense of direction. Giving up on a project could seem enticing but be a very poor career move. It shows your boss that you might not be the person who they could go to in times of need. Asking the right questions to gain help with a difficult project shows that you are a team player that can accept critique and criticism. Working to go all the way communicates dedication to colleagues and superiors.
Tips for Communicating with Millennials
Keep it Brief
Millennials LOVE technology, especially their smart phones. It would be difficult to take a walk down a busy street and not see a young professional glued to their phone. However, because they are consuming so much content on the daily, they rarely read long articles or messages. By keeping emails and important messages brief, you are ensuring that young professionals are not only reading them but understanding what the message says.
Provide Detail and Don’t be Vague
Being vague about a topic or project can leave a person with a feeling of doubt. To better communicate with young professionals, messages should have as many specific instructions as possible . This guarantees that the person is understanding the details and knows exactly what is expected of them.
Communication is 24/7
It is well known that millennials love their phones and that they do almost everything on them. Finding the best way to communicate with them became easier with the advances in smart phone technology. Now a company can also guarantee 24/7 contact with employees through texting, email, or messaging apps. Now, whether a company should be able to contact you at a moments notice is up to the company. Respecting their time outside of work hours is the best way to ensure that out of office contact is respected both ways
Nurture their Passion
Everyone has a passion outside of work. Maybe it is anything to do with rockets and space. Maybe it is gardening and an employee brags about having the best lawn in the town. Having employers who genuinely care about employees’ passions go a long way into building bonds with each other and provides a unique chance to improve communications.
Reach your millennial employees with Ohana, a virtual place to connect, engage, and communicate. Talk with one of our engagement specialists today!