Why are you so obsessed with me? Stop talking about the Millennial generation like it’s not a vital part of the AV world
#AVTweeps – ENOUGH WITH THE MILLENNIAL TALK! All day, every day, I hear Millennials this, Millennials that, and it almost always comes with a negative connotation. Some say I fall into the Millennial generation. I say I’m in the much forgotten and commercially irrelevant Gen Y—a hybrid of Gen X and Millennials. I’ve picked up some cool qualities from both groups. I can selfie like nobody’s business…and if you think the selfie is irrelevant in the workplace, you’re dead wrong; people have created million dollar brands with selfies. At the same time, I’m Gen X-ish when it comes to a work/life balance. I’m not a 9-5 clock-in kinda gal, but, at the same time, you’re not going to catch me working 16-hour days just because you have a stocked kitchen and a game room.
I recently had the pleasure of attending AVIXA’s AV Executive Conference. The networking was wonderful but the presentations? Extremely frustrating. Nearly every presenter/panel brought up some issue with the Millennial generation. NEWSFLASH: Millennials now make up the majority of the labor force and have since Q1 2015, according to the Pew Research Center.
Then why is everybody still complaining about them? Because change is hard. Millennials may have different way of doing things and, as I’ve discovered, lots of us are having trouble accepting that our way may not be the best way. Marci Rossell, PhD, and former Chief Economist at CNBC, could not stop talking about younger generations constantly using their phones, and her belief that it was hindering productivity.
Well, is it actually hindering productivity? I don’t think so. Sometimes smart devices are a big distraction, but they can also be a source of inspiration, creativity, and, most importantly, productivity. I spent a lot of the conference live-tweeting for SCN Magazine. The presenters still had my attention, perhaps even more so because I had to listen closely to get their quotes exactly right for social. Know what this did? It allowed those who couldn’t attend to feel like they were in the room and pick up some new knowledge. Sharing is caring, people!
Please stop telling me Millennials are special snowflakes who are afraid to leave their parents’ homes. First of all, if an entire generation needs a safe space, guess what? IT’S OUR FAULT! We’re the ones who raised them in a bubble and everyone-gets-a-trophy environment. Also, who crashed the economy? If you’re over age 40, raise your hand. It’s you. It wasn’t the Millennials. So, yeah, they have to stay at home a bit longer…because nobody is employing them.
It’s time to get off your high horse and figure out that Millennials are business professionals, just like you and me. We can all work together, because we already are. Just stop the bad mouthing and making every class, conference, anecdote, etc. about how terrible the next generation is. And remember, they’re going to be your boss soon.
P.S. For those of you who are interested, I’m happy to teach a class on how to work with Baby Boomers and Gen X. Time to exploit the weaknesses of other generations and tell Millennials how they can deal with co-workers over age 40 who are fiscally irresponsible (remember, they created the 2008 financial crisis and crashed the housing market), selfish (who’s draining social security without caring if there’s anything left for the rest of us?), and refuse to acknowledge their privilege (higher education was way more affordable and they entered a rapidly expanding job market). InfoComm 2018, anyone?
Do you sigh every time you walk into a meeting and a PowerPoint on the screen? Me, too! Even the most exciting topic can lose the room with a boring presentation. Here are some tips I have learned to help make my presentations more stimulating.
1. Know Your Audience
First and foremost, you HAVE to know whom you’re speaking to. Have a room full of busy executive? Make it short, sweet and to the point. Younger audience? Add videos and make it really interactive.
2. Tell A Story
Make it entertaining. There’s nothing worse than someone sitting there and listing off facts…except if they’re just reading said facts right off the screen with no eye contact. Engage your audience. Tell them a story and make them remember. If you’re looking for tips on storytelling, check out Matthew Luhn.
3. Make It Relatable
Let’s be honest – if there’s not a benefit for the listener, they’re tuned out. Connect to your subjects, make them see why they should care.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
This sounds so basic but practice truly does make perfect. Take the time to craft your message. It’s not only what you say, it’s also how you say it. Figure out which points you want to emphasize. Grab your team (or even your friends and family) and ask them to sit through your rehearsal. Ask for honest feedback. You want to know if you’re dropping ummms and likes all day or if you’re swaying from side to side like you’re rocking a baby. Small things like that can be distracting during a presentation and if you’re aware of your issues, you can consciously work to make them better.
What are you doing to improve your presentation skills? What has helped you? I’d love to hear your answers in the comments below.
Megan A. Dutta