Thursday, June 4, 2009
The Millennial Myth
My name is Missy, and I'm a Millennial.
Millennials--or Generation Y, those born, roughly after 1980--are entering the work force en mass. They're not only changing the face of the workplace, they're also changing how companies operate in regards to communication.
Over the last several months, we've noticed a trend with our clients. They'll call us up with a common problem and a slightly panicked voice, "We've got to change our event strategy/training messaging/presentations... We've got Millennials now, and we can't just present as usual, we have to *engage* them! They demand interaction! They demand entertainment! They demand engagement!"
While we're glad that Millennials have inspired companies to start rethinking their presentations from a brain-based perspective (focused on engaging the brain in interactive ways), we can't help but lament the fate of the poor, disengaged Gen Xers and Boomers that came before them.
Nothing has changed with the Millennials. Therein lies the myth. The Millennials don't learn differently. They don't have *more* need to be engaged.
They're just not quiet about their dissatisfaction with presentation-as-usual.
You see, all those Boomers sitting in an event, PowerPoint slide after PowerPoint slide after mind-numbing PowerPoint slide, weren't paying *more* attention than the fidgety, distracted Millennials--they were just better at hiding their dissatisfaction.
Previous generations accepted Death-by-PowerPoint as an unchangeable status quo, and while they didn't become engaged in the message or absorb the key information, they also didn't complain about it. Therein lies the Millennial difference. Millennials have been raised to believe that they are a force of change; that what they want should be given to them, that they should be engaged and entertained and bygod if they don't get that, they're going to let you hear about it.
So by all means--revamp your presentations. Make them brain friendly, engaging, effective... Because the Millennials may have demanded the change, but your Gen X and Boomer employees will thank you as well.