Understanding Communication Styles In Business

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A little background:

Traditionals: Born Before 1945
Baby Boomers Born 1946-1964
Gen Xer's Born 1965-1983
Gen Y or the Millennials Born 1984-2002

Have you ever played phone tag with a contact? Most people have. It is frustrating, time consuming and inefficient for business. However, if you are dealing with most individuals from the Traditional or Baby Boomer generation or (what I call) the "Sensory Communicators" you need to be aware that most will prefer phone calls to e-mail or text and want primarily face-to-face meetings for everything. Meetings abound in their eyes. It may be that they prefer these methods to block out distractions. I agree that meetings definitely have their place in corporate culture. However, I think that many use meetings or phone calls to break up the day more than to share information. To them face-to-face time means they are getting business done. They want to see emotion in your eyes. They want to hear, see and feel the communication using their senses. When they ask you to get in contact with someone. Most likely mean for you to place a call the person or go visit them. Knowing the type of communication style that your boss, prefers can make or break your success in the workplace and it aids in effective communication. Therefore, when they ask you later in the week, did you talk to someone, saying I called and left a message and have not heard back will be more favorable to them than, I sent an e-mail and have not received a reply. Understanding this point of view of these types of bosses can help employees effectively communicate and look favorably to their superiors.  For examply if they ask for an outline, it is advisable to print them a copy and put in their box. You can also e-mail it to them noting that a hardcopy is in their box. They prefer to touch and feel things.  Talk to people instead of e-mailing.  These individuals usually fall into the Traditionals Era and/or the Baby Boomers. 

In corporate culture, we also have what I call the "Techno Selective". These individuals are comprised mostly of Baby Boomers but also include some Generation X'ers. They have the technology. They know how to use it mostly; however, they do not rely on it such as younger generations. They can take it or leave it. They know they need it to survive in today's climate but if given the choice they would rather call you than text or email you something. Working for a Techno Selective boss is challenging if you are someone preferring to use gadgets to communicate. Because these individuals appear to be connected because they have the latest, Blackberry does not mean if you email something important they will always respond to it. To deal effectively with this group it is important to use both. E-mail your proposal then follow up with a phone call to let them know you emailed it.

The younger generations or the "Wired" generations always have a cell phone in their hand and text during meetings. They are always connected and prefer communicating by e-mails or texting others the information. These individuals tend to be Generation Y/Millenials or Generation Xer's. They sometimes are frustrated by older generations and feel that the more personal methods of communication such as phone calls or meetings are a waste of time. They prefer to get their work done so they can go on to the next thing. It is helpful when dealing with those in this generation you understand this fact. If you want them to know something. Text them. This is what they pay attention to and be direct in requests from them. If you want to discuss a project face-to -face. E-mail them an outline and text them that you want to meet to discuss at a specific location. These generations what information and do not want to waste time. By giving them information ahead of time, they can formulate questions and go over them when meeting. It is all about efficiency. To them gadgets help them disseminate what is needed and what is not.

In all generations, respect and consideration are keys to communication. However, knowing how individuals communicate is essential for both Supervisors and employees to effectively operate their businesses. It also is essential in networking. Always ask when meeting someone what the best way to contact him or her and take note of what they say. It can save you time and make the best impression on them. Knowing that there are differences can help you be a better communicator no matter what generation you are in or what generation you are dealing with in the workplace.  Of courae there are always exceptions, for example the Tradtional who is tech savvy.  So you should never assume anything based on age. These tips give you an idea of what to look for when you seem to be having difficulty communicating and gives you some strategies to try to improve your communication.

Sheryl Monteil has worked extensively in the non- profit sector for the past 13 years.  She has a degree in Psychology with the emphasis in Rehabilitation studies.  Sheryl's interests include self improvement and physical health.  She strives to help non- profits further their mission by working with them to set company goals and boost staff morale.  She is passionate about upholding workers rights and assisting management in learning how to motivate workers and improve productivity by using the SCOPE Principles of Business Leadership. 
Follow her on twitter  
http://twitter.com/2352mont

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