Generational Etiquette

12 Tips on Veterans, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millenials

Posted by Liz Taylor May 15, 2014

I get many questions about the different generations that work together in today’s business environment and how to address the obvious generational gaps.  There tends to be miscommunication, misunderstanding and frustration.  The following are the most important things to know: 

  1. There are four generations in the workforce today: Veterans (1922-1945); Baby Boomers (1946-1964); Gen X (1965-1980); Gen Y or Millennial (1981-2000).
  2. No matter what generation someone is a part of, everyone has to adapt to change. There will constantly be new technology, new rules, new ways to make things better, etc. Be open to helping and learning from each other.
  3. Always challenge yourself to learn. Every generation needs to develop their skills.
  4. Ask questions to different groups rather than make statements. This helps on the relationship front.
  5. Avoid making judgments based on age. It’s not fair to the person.
  6. Define your acronyms with other groups so they know what you are referring to.
  7. Remember that the majority of Veterans value hard work. They applaud the handwritten note; prefer less email and more personal interaction. They like to communicate from written memos or one-on-one interaction. Socializing is important. They are loyal and dependable.
  8. Baby boomers value loyalty, while enjoying public recognition, rewards, involvement and long work hours. They prefer to communicate over the phone or email.
  9. Gen Xers can multi-task well and need constructive feedback. They dislike micro-managers but really like dealing with the latest and greatest technology. They love to communicate through their cell phones. They value work-life balance. 
  10. Gen Yers are all about continuing their education and they value training, innovation and change. They like to communicate through social media, internet, cell phones and text messaging. 
  11. All generations have similar values and put family first.
  12. Regardless of age, everyone enjoys learning, no one necessarily loves change and everyone wants respect.

Please remember that etiquette is all about building relationships. It’s important to do your best to adjust to your colleagues’ or clients’ styles.  If your boss is a baby boomer who prefers one-on-one meetings or phone calls to discuss matters, don’t manage all of your correspondences with him via email and text. 

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“How refreshing and timely. From the texting generation to the baby boomers—the art of etiquette is sadly disappearing. Whether you just need a touch-up or a full immersion, Liz, is the person to teach you the skills to appear confident, elegant and professional in any business situation. Her energetic and engaging style will make this one of the most enjoyable seminars you have ever taken! Liz is awesome!”

—Chuck Bokar, Principal, Design Resource Center

“Absolutely superb! Liz has an amazing knack for presenting her concepts in a thought-provoking and clear style. Her ideas and suggestions would enhance anyone's ability to bridge the gap between business and etiquette. She clearly has a deep understanding of not only the topic, but the thought processes that go into creating better interpersonal relationships out of socially awkward situations. I highly recommend her and her coursework...she will help your business!”

—Brad Guck, District Manager, Administaff

“Liz, Thank you so much for coming to Indianapolis to help us grow our skills as professionals and as people. Your presentation helped us address issues with grace, candor, sensitivity – as well as fun! You were fabulous!”

—Betsy Hamlett, Director of Sales for Kenra, Ltd.

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