Young professionals use communication and technology for efficiency… often at the expense of accuracy. It’s important to work with new hires to integrate them into your workspace by sharing what communication styles are appropriate for your office and also what communication styles they prefer. Here are a few ways you can communicate better with young professionals in your workspace.
Exchange Communication Preferences and Styles
Engage young professionals in a conversation about the different contexts your team communicates in and what each person’s preferences are in your department. Make sure everyone on the team knows what the best way is to share large quantities of information, communicate last minute or time-sensitive information, and how to communicate after hours. As important as it is to integrate young professionals into your workspace, you also need to be respectful of their communication preferences. If they prefer receiving a Facebook message for time-sensitive information, then figure out how you can work with them. If you want young employees to flex to meet you where you are, make sure you model the importance of this practice by flexing to meet them where they are.
Weed Out Vocalized Thinking
Young professionals are known for vocalizing their thinking, i.e., um, you know, so, like, etc. To guard against this, remind them that communication is not a race and to think before they speak—especially at work. Young professionals tend to lose their train of thought when spouting off their ideas. One strategy I like to encourage is the stop-and-smile. Basically, when one feels that the brain and mouth are out of alignment, she stops, smiles, breathes, finds the next idea, and then continues on. This helps employees hide brain freezes and project confidence and competence in all situations.
Curb People Pleasing and Puffing
Millennials often strive to make themselves into the people they think others want them to be by making choices that are big and bold. It is your job to intervene before over-talking and people-pleasing become habit. You should also try to help your young professionals eliminate “puffing.” Your new hires will want to share why they are great and what makes them qualified for your most plum opportunities—but stop them! You can remind them of a great mantra, “Who I Am Is Not What I Achieve.” Make sure they know that it’s not about a title or getting featured in the paper. It’s about the choices they make in their thinking and behavior and the results they achieve. This will support them to be transparent with their communication, and use it to forward organizational goals.
Gen Y communicates differently then any generation before. Do you have any additional tips for better communication with young professionals?