Millennials 2: We should care, just about different things

“You’re lazy, over-entitled and expect far too much from life.”

The opening line from Stacey Honnor’s blog last week pretty much sums up the view I had of Millennials. Don’t get me wrong, much of our team are Millennials, and my view of them is utterly different from the above, but sometimes it’s hard to separate your personal experiences from the stereotype.

My view has changed recently because I entered into a debate with someone about whether my view was correct. It was pointed out to me that my experience was no different to that of other generations that have gone before, and we struggle to fully understand the next generation because we’re not part of it. Millennials aren’t special, they are just different, and so it’s about the ability to handle change.

So, in short, the Millennial is as annoying to me as I was to my Dad. As a result, I have to give them the benefit of the doubt.

However, that someone else (mentioned above) was from my generation (X or Y depending on who you listen to), not another Millennial. It seems to me there are few Millennials who are able to enter into a healthy debate with someone else, face to face, because interpersonal skills are rapidly diminishing.

I went to a meeting recently made up of a mix of generations and the only people in the room who weren’t glued to a device were those not considered as a Millennial. Everyone else spent their time tapping away…not listening to what was being said. At any point that I was able to make eye contact (pretty important in my view) I sensed immediate fear and they looked back down at their screen.

What a waste. A waste of time and opportunity, because plenty of opportunities were discussed in the room and they missed them all. If you can’t engage, you have no value to contribute and you shouldn’t be in the room. If you’re that busy you need to be constantly typing, again you shouldn’t be in the room.

Of course much of my writing is based on sweeping statements, and in any generation you get a mix of people with different attitudes and abilities. However, I believe that people still buy from other people and always will. You still have to be able to sell them something, and to do that you have to be able to interact effectively with them.

So like any previous generation, of course we should try to understand the next one that comes along because every generation has a financial influence that grows until it peaks.

In the meantime, I’ll be working with my own team of Millennials to teach them how to engage effectively with others without doing it solely via instant message and poo shaped emoticons.

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