Communicating Across The Generations


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A short workshop on the differences ways each generation communicates and how to use this information in a leadership situation in a non-profit organisation.

This workshop was originally developed for the District 70 Toastmasters 2011 Advanced Club Officer Training.

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  • Quotation (1 minute) “ We are each members of our own generations, and our world views are colored by our own experiences ” Ann Fishman, Generational Marketing Expert we have to work at understanding the feelings and behaviors of those from other age groups to effectively communicate and market to them
  • Introduction This session looks at different generations, and provides learners with an insight as to how they can better understand what the different generational needs and interests are, and how they like to be communicated to. The outcome of which is to re-engineer how they market their clubs to both prospective and existing members.
  • Introducing the Different Generations (5 Minutes) Lecture: Each generation is moulded by the world events that occur during its formative years. For example, if you lived through the Great Depression, you carry some mark of that experience. You save; you may be thrifty. If you lived through the Vietnam War, it almost certainly affected your view of authority. These distinct historical experiences create characteristics that stay with people throughout the rest of their lives. Currently we have 6 generations that coexist in our country today, along with their personality types. They are:   The G.I.s The Silents aka Builders The Boomers Gen X Gen Y aka Millennials iGen aka Gen Z For this session we will ignore the G.I.s and the iGen as they are not really in our target demographic age range. Each of the remaining groups can easily be tagged to the major influences in their lives. For example… slide
  • Silents : World War II, Robert Menzies, Radio Boomers : Vietnam War, Gough Whitlam, Television Gen X : Fall of the Berlin Wall, Bob Hawke, VCR Gen Y : 911, John Howard, Playstation Trainers Note: refer to separate pdf document from McCrindle Research, "The Generations Defined Sociologically" for more information. All generations react to various methods of communication. This one point has a heavy sway on how we look to get our word out there. For example, if we are targeting Gen Y we could do better than to place an advertisement in the local newspaper. If we do not have a web presence we are not reaching people under 42. The younger the target age group the more emphasis must be put on social media. If the demographic in your area is more senior, you may rely more on traditional methods. Trainers Note: If time permits you could explore with the audience other icons that are representative of the different generations, e.g. cars, movie stars, movies, songs, singers, bands, transportation, fashion, toys, etc. You could also leave this activity to the end of the session. Additional Note: There is no real need to do this activity, so do it only if you need to fill time, or as a fun activity.
  • 30 seconds: The mind maps in the workbook summarise these differences in greater detail, adding information about typical traits of the different generations, what's important to them, and their preferred methods of communication. Note: Give learners a minute or two to look over the mind maps in their workbooks
  • Activity (15 minutes + 10 minutes = 25 minutes total) Group Activity (15 minutes) In small groups have learners choose one generational group and discuss how they could apply the mind map information to:   1. Attract new members to their club, 2. Maintain and motivate their current membership, 3. Encourage existing members to take on executive roles within their club.   It would be helpful to think about the following categories: medium (newspaper, flyers, radio, internet, TV), phrases/slogans/words, images, communication methods, programs, activities, or events you could offer, etc. If time permits, they can repeat the exercise for another generational group and compare if their approach to the second group would be different to the first?  
  • Debrief: (10 minutes) There are a number of ways to debrief this session. The most obvious is to simply have people tell their results of the activity. Other ways to debrief could be to ask if people agreed or disagree with the information in the mind maps, or ask if anyone has any examples to support the information (any ah-ha moments). You could ask if anybody explored a different generational group to their own (this could be fun with the right respondents). Feel free to ask the audience any questions you like to debrief and summarise this topic.   Note : If anyone objects strongly to being 'categorised' or 'stereo-typed' agree with them and say you understand how they feel, and then say that this is one of the problems with this sort of exercise, and that while it is not our intention to pigeon-hole people that this sort of exercise is useful for exploring different ways of communicating to different people.   Another objection that may be raised is that like most things the majority of the research in this area is from the United States and has an American slant to it. The response to this is that there is significant Australian Research to support similar conclusions, most specifically refer them to (Thanks to Alison Lavick for this link).
  • Take a couple of questions
  • Conclusion (1 minute) Trainers Note: This session lends itself more to a conclusion more than a summary which has been used for the other sessions. - The generation gap is widening, and to be successful, we need to be more flexible in how we recruit, retain, manage, and motivate people. - We need to relate to all generations and bridge the gaps or else we condemn our clubs to a slow death. - Each generation responds to different cultures, respects different rules, need different types of guidance, and communicates differently.
  • As leaders we should constantly ask Do we have an eye on our marketing? ALL ALSPECTS OF OUR MARKETING? Are we providing a contemporary culture in order to provide consistency in services and a path of growth for the individual? And finally…. Are we renewing ourselves as a group and individually?
  • What's the next step? (1 minute) Redesign your next Membership Building and Public Relations Campaign to be more attractive to your target market. Submit your material to the District Public Relations Officer before 30 April and you might win this year's Public Relations Competition
  • Communicating Across The Generations

    1. 1. Communicating across the generations Presented By Eric Pace Hello Master ‘Y’ Wad up Silent Dude?
    2. 2. Communicating across the generations “We are each members of our own generations, and our world views are colored by our experiences.” Ann Fishman, Generational Marketing Expert
    3. 3. Communicating across the generations In this session: Generational needs & interest Communicating to each generation
    4. 4. Communicating across the generations What are the generations?  The GI Generation, 1901-1924  The Silent Generation (aka the Builders), 1924-1945  Baby Boomers, 1945-1964  Gen X, 1965-1982  Gen Y (aka Millennials), 1982- 1997/2000  iGen (aka Gen Z), 1997 +
    5. 5. Silents Boomer s Gen X Gen Y Overview
    6. 6. Communication across the Generations Group Activity Choose a generational group and discuss how you could use this information to: 1.Attract new members to your club 2.Maintain and motivate your current membership 3.Encourage existing members to take on leadership roles within your club
    7. 7. Communication across the Generations Report to the group
    8. 8. Communication across the Generations Questions
    9. 9. Communication across the Generations Conclusion The widening Generation Gap requires us to:  Be more flexible  Make an effort to communicate to all groups  Respect that each group is different
    10. 10. Communication across the Generations Conclusion As leaders we should constantly ask  Do we have an eye on our marketing?  Are we providing a contemporary culture in order to provide consistency in services and a path of growth for our members?  Are we renewing ourselves as a group and individually?
    11. 11. Communication across the Generations Re-design membership building and PR campaigns What’s the next step?