Optimizing Millennial's Communication Styles

8016 Words33 Pages
OPTIMIZING MILLENNIALS’ COMMUNICATION STYLES
Jackie L. Hartman
Kansas State University

Jim McCambridge

Colorado State University Millennials, those individuals born between 1980 and 2000, compose the largest cohort of college students in the United States. Stereotypical views of millennials characterize them as technologically sophisticated multitaskers, capable of significant contributions to tomorrow’s organizations, yet deficient in communication skills. This article offers insights for business educators to help millennials understand the influence of communication styles when optimizing communication effectiveness. Developing style-typing and style-flexing skills can serve as building blocks for millennials’ subsequent
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Common perceptions about this generation include the following:
• They crave feedback and praise, which can be perceived as high maintenance. • Their parents continue to insinuate themselves into their children’s lives, leaving others to question the millennials’ independent thinking abilities.

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BUSINESS COMMUNICATION QUARTERLY / March 2011

• Their job-hopping ways can lead employers to question millennials’ loyalty, and diminish employers’ desire to want to invest in them. Only one fifth of millennials anticipate staying in a job for more than 5 years (Robert Half International, 2008). • They are overconfident, opinionated, and expect to be heard (Alsop, 2007). • They believe that they do not have to “pay dues” when they enter an organization. • They are uncomfortable with criticism and can become aggressive and even caustic when criticized (Tyler, 2008). • They enjoy structure and dislike ambiguity. • They prefer clear rules, well-defined policies, and responsibilities. • They claim to be committed to social responsibility and desire worklife balance. • They see themselves as indispensable beings with high expectations and a desire to be sought after (Alsop, 2006). • They see technology as something that is part of their lives,

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