PR Blog

Intergenerational Communication

February 24, 2014, by Ruby Blue


Your Baby Boomer boss leaves a voice message urgently asking for contact details of a client. You’re out with friends so email it through using your smartphone, then your boss calls again in an hour asking why you haven’t called through with the info. Sound familiar? Knowing your audience and the way they prefer to receive messages is crucial to getting your brand message across successfully.

There is a lot of emphasis on diversity in the workforce and its effect on communication. Retirement ages are being pushed back and generational diversity is present in virtually every workplace. Our ageing workforce is a generational spectrum encompassing Veterans (born between 1925-1945), Baby Boomers (born between 1946-1964), Gen X’s (born between 1965-1980), and Gen Y’s (born between 1981-2000).

With each group the importance of what we say, and how we say it, shifts. Although somewhat stereotypical, the older generations have a tendency to favour face-to-face and phone communication. Born into a digital age, Gen X and Y have a greater predisposition to technology and are generally Internet and social media whizzes. They prefer email communication and online messages rather than somewhat confronting face-to-face communicating or even phone calls.

This gives the PR world the potential to tap a diverse pool of communicational expertise or buckle and come up against barriers of miscommunicated tension. Understanding intergenerational communication allows PR practitioners to provide varied expertise and tailor a PR strategy to best meet clients’ needs.

By taking time to understand our own generational preferences and those of our co-workers and clients we are able to learn from each other. Older generations can pass on their vast industry experience and the younger their pop culture and technology expertise.

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