How would you define baby boomers, Generation Xers, and millennials? Basically, each generation was born in a different time period. And with the passage of time and generations, our world has seen values, customs, and ideals change drastically. This change permeates all the way down to how we interact with each other every single day – from the coffee line at Starbucks to an industry conference.
We’ve written a plethora of posts about how presenters can appeal to the millennial audience. But how should a millennial presenter adjust to effectively resonate with baby boomers and Generation Xers, and why should they in the first place? For starters, the two generations prior to the millennial generation make up a considerable chunk of the workforce – with baby boomers accounting for 29% of the working population and Generation Xers commanding 34% of it, according to a recent Pew Research poll. Here are 4 presentation tips for the millennial presenter grappling with how to reach baby boomers and Generation Xers:
One of the main differences between millennials and their baby boomer and Generation X counterparts is their response to authority. Although millennials almost wholeheartedly trust authority figures, baby boomers prefer to trust themselves over others while Generation Xers hold a low level of trust. When giving a presentation, take active measures to relate more to your audience instead of creating a barrier of authority by incorporating a storytelling narrative with themes that baby boomers and Generation Xers understand best. Think growth, loyalty, self-reliance, independence, and pragmatism. These are just some of the themes the two generations will react positively to if they are utilized in a presentation narrative.
As a millennial, chances are you will be more motivated by constant feedback and communication, clarity and structure, and above all, recognition from supervisors. On the other hand, baby boomers will be driven more by public praise and material rewards – anything they can display on a desk, wall, or shelf. In addition, Generation Xers prefer to be rewarded with relaxation or a break from the daily grind. Like millennials, Generation Xers appreciate frequent feedback and constructive criticism. During presentation activities, consider the varying motivators of each generation. For example, have your audience answer questions based on the material you have covered up to a certain point. Provide rewards such as magnets or paper weights to satisfy baby boomers and meaningful discussion following a Generation Xers’ response to appeal to their desire for feedback.
The way a millennial presenter delivers his or her presentation content should be influenced by the generational qualities of an audience. For example, baby boomers want to hear an emotional story and to respond expressively to that story. So make sure to include a storytelling component in your presentation. To play to the practicality of Generation X, describe some of the concepts in your presentation in a pragmatic manner by providing data to back up your primary points and establishing credibility by detailing your credentials.
A recent article by Young Money explained the differences between “the big question” of each generation. Where millennials seek to understand how to build something, baby boomers prefer to understand what a concept means and what it is at its very core. These both differ from Generation Xers, who want to ensure something works. When crafting your presentation message, it is paramount that you answer the following three questions:
As you can can probably tell, the millennial presenter contrasts greatly with baby boomers and Generation Xers. But with a few simple changes and the presentation tips outlined above, any millennial can deliver a presentation capable of resonating with the most diverse of audiences. For more information on generational presentation considerations, check out the following resources:
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