“Grandma is mad at me! What did I do wrong?”

“My kid won’t call me back!”

“My mom just left me a voicemail that goes on forever! UGH!”

“Your text message really upset me. I’m DONE!”

I’ll bet you have either said these things or heard them said. As a mentor, these are some of the things said about other generations when communication attempts fail. I see them a little differently, like a communications coach!

These situations could be resolved by some simple generational communication techniques. Here’s how…

“Grandma is mad at me! What did I do wrong?”

Grandma would be considered part of the Traditionalist generation (or early Baby Boomer) and would be part of the oldest generations on our planet today. They lived through the depression, or were raised by parents who had gone through it. As youngsters, their only method of communication would have been the letter. They often courted through love letters. They continued to write letters throughout their lifetimes to adult siblings, friends, kids who had left the nest, and finally their grandkids. It is the way of their generation. The way to show love.

They taught their children to write a proper thank you note. Sent through the post office.

The Traditionalist generation doesn’t mean to be, but they are the “Guardians of the Thank You Note.”

The Bible mentions the sending of a letter 73 times from Old Testament to New. Each letter carries a profound message for the recipients.

“So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter.  The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message.” Acts 15:30-31

Actual text between my millennial daughter and me. This works. Every.Time.

 

“My kid won’t call me back!”

If your kid is a GenXer or Millennial, they have a smart phone. It’s time for you to get smart too!

GenXers were raised in an age of modern technology and they will always be on the cutting edge. Millennials are natives to modern technology and they create new tech! But more than anything, these generations want to know “what’s up?” (for millennials, it’s “what’ up?” no s. Get used to it.) So just ask them to call you in a sentence or two. Don’t tell them why. They will have to call you to find out. Pretty sneaky, huh? You might also learn the direct message feature on Twitter. Don’t know how? Just ask a millennial! They are great tech coaches!

“My mom just left me a voicemail that goes on forever! UGH!”

Aw, honey, I’m sorry. Your parents are Baby Boomers. They grew into adulthood with answering machines–and the longer the message, the more important! All they want to do is feed you information. Why? In their generation, information is power. They want you to have all the info so you can be the most powerful adult.


“Your text message really upset me. I’m DONE!”

The important thing to remember for GenXers is to use technology to develop a bond with the ones we love.

The best way to love a GenXer is to use technology to develop discussions, because phone calls are too time-consuming as they work to achieve a work-life balance.

But for Traditionalists and Boomers, technology does not always come as easy and misunderstandings, often unintentional, happen. Sometimes, we don’t hear the words we text the same way our recipient does. We don’t know what else our recipient is juggling at the time your text comes in. The Bible tells us to:

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3)

The “bond of peace” works across all technology. Sometimes, to save a mishap in one form of communicaiton, we have to resort to another method.

These are the tried and true methods I use to communicate respectfully and effectively with adults of all ages. Do you use some I didn’t cover? Share in the comments the communication techniques have you used successfully with other generations!

 

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