Communicating Across the Generation Gap in Your Office


You are never too old or too young to learn how to use verbal and non-verbal communications to build relationships, handle conflict, diffuse uncomfortable situations, or stand up for yourself and your ideas. There is always room for improvement.

That is especially true in today's workplace where complexities of communication are more pronounced because the work force is made up of four generations. Anyone who has both children and parents knows how utterly challenging and drastically different it can be to communicate across generations. And, yet, at work, we expect teams and organizations made up of different generations to not only coexist - but to thrive together.

It's important to be aware of generational differences, but at the same time, to avoid automatically stereotyping an employee based on his or her age. Individuals are just that - individuals -  and may not reflect the characteristics of their age group. That said, below is a list of the different generations in today's workplace and their (stereotypical) mode of communication:

The Silent Generation

Born before 1946 during the Great Depression and World War II

  • This group prefers to follow a chain of command, they are structured, and most comfortable writing letters and using the telephone
  • They are comfortable meeting in person, face-to-face
  • They don't always seek feedback and assume that no news, is good news

Baby Boomers

Born between 1946-1964 in a time of dramatic social change

  • When it comes to communication, Baby Boomers favor group problem-solving
  • They like the terminology "we" vs. "I"
  • They use the phone, fax, email, Facebook, and voice mail
  • They'll take part in webinars, watch videos, and use the Internet, but they will want to ask questions
  • They don't seek feedback

Generation X

Born between 1964-1981; a tech savvy generation

  • They are independent and generally do not like group work
  • They favor decisions without unnecessary discussion
  • They communicate with the latest technology like iPads and iPhones
  • They love interactive communication; email is the preferred medium
  • Will ask for feedback


Sometimes called Gen Y, these kids were born between1981-2001

  • They are the Google generation and are perhaps hardest for other generations (and specifically management) to understand
  • Divisions between work and social life are blurred as their lives are often out there for all to see
  • They engage and participate with others 
  • Generation Y hates calling people on the phone - texting is less invasive and much preferred


In the past, the term Generation Gap was used to describe the conflict between parents and teenagers. Today, Generation Gap has more to do with the workplace where employees from different generations are finding it challenging to work side by side. Every generation has something to add: respect the value that they bring, encourage mutual respect, recognize that people communicate differently, and then let the coaches at Ty Boyd help open the lines of communication in your organization because there's always room for improvement.

Taking it to the next level

While there are multiple places to get tips & tricks for public speaking, we believe hands-on-training is the way to truly master public speaking. If you are looking for proven techniques for preparing and delivering effective presentations; greater confidence in your presentation skills ability; and new tools for effective communication look no further. Excellence in Speaking Institue, our signature course, provides all of the above and each attendee also receives an individualized game plan for how to further improve and enhance their skills after the course.

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