Generation X is the smaller, and often overlooked, generation between Baby Boomers and Millennials, comprised of anyone born between 1965 and 1980. Due to Gen X’s small size and the massive cultural focus on Millennials, the needs and wants of Gen X audiences can be tough to pin down. But if you want to deliver a presentation to this audience that sells, compels, and inspires, then you better have an understanding of its characteristics—both positive and negative—so you can tailor your content accordingly.
The Benefits of Presenting to Gen X
They Have Money to Spend
For presenters who are selling a product or service, there’s quite possibly no better audience to speak to than Gen X. According to research from American Express, this generation has more spending power than any other. And common sense will tell you the same—considering that this age group is in the peak of their careers and income, it should be no surprise that they have a little extra money to burn than the generations before and after them
They Value Authenticity
Gen Xers tend to see right through the bullshit, preferring to align with individuals and companies who are authentic, vulnerable, and transparent. That means you can save the formal, drawn-out spiel for another day (or, really, no day at all) and allow yourself to open up and let loose about everything that excites you about your topic. When it comes to this audience, the more open and real you are, the better, which also makes the presentation for everyone, including you, a lot more fun.
Gen X might be a small generation relative to others, but they make up the majority of startup founders at 55%. That means they’re generally big thinkers who are unafraid to take risks, forge new paths, and absorb new ideas. And considering that one of the hardest things for a presenter to accomplish is to bring an audience onboard with a new idea, this makes them a killer audience for presenting unusual topics and uncharted territory.
The Drawbacks of Presenting to Gen X
They’re Not Keen on Being Told What to Do
This generation is often pegged as the “latch-key” kid generation, meaning many of them were left to their own devices while their parents were scrambling to get new jobs after an influx of country-wide layoffs. Therefore, Gen Xers are used to doing their own thing and, as a whole, don’t take too kindly to blind authority. Presenters should be careful with their tone when speaking to this audience and seek to earn their respect through sharing experiences rather than exerting authority.
They’re Not the Most Tech Savvy
Gen Xers didn’t grow up with technology the way Millennials did, which means they often have to learn things on the tech front that come naturally to later generations. So while your high-tech presentation might be impressive and engaging for a Millennial audience, you might want to pump the brakes on it for Gen Xers. Instead, focus on your voice and delivering killer content.
They Tend to Be Skeptical
While it’s true that this generation makes up the largest portion of startup founders, that doesn’t mean they’re ready to jump all-in on just anything. Quite the opposite, in fact. Gen Xers are skeptical and quick to ask questions. Of course, this isn’t inherently a bad quality, but it does mean that you better know the ins and outs of your topic when you’re presenting if you don’t want to be called out for a lack of knowledge.
Now that you know who your audience is, it’s time to find out who you are as a presenter. Take our Badge Assessment to discover your unique presentation persona.
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