With the average teenager sending more than 3,000 text messages per month and spending untold hours on email, blogging, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to share up-to-the-minute updates about what they’re doing, their photos and videos, it’s no surprise that the generation currently coming of age is having so much trouble with traditional face-to-face communication!
Because Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 2000, use communication tools that often exclusively use only the rapid exchange of text, some of the most basic non-verbal cues have escaped their generation. Millennials communicate primarily through text message and social networking tools, and since those same channels of communication can’t convey a tone and don’t include hand gestures, eye contact, posture, or any of the other non-verbal cues most of us use each day, young adults are missing out on the early lessons of unspoken, often unconscious manners.
For many Millennials, reading an email or text message and updating their Facebook during a business meeting is the norm. Many business leaders in the Baby Boomer generation are convinced that this younger generation doesn’t realize that this kind of multitasking is seen as rude. For them, it is simply how they interact with their age group and friends, but it may very well limit or delay their career path.
If your child, teenager, or twenty-something has had their thumbs on a keyboard for some time now, remember how important it is for them to learn both verbal and unspoken cues. Insist on phone calls and social experiences with the older, wiser, and more mature, or be prepared to forgive this young generation for their transgressions; they simply don’t know any better.