Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y, Are We Really Communicating?

I don’t know how you folks see it but I see the world of communication as an ever changing landscape, especially with the Gen X’s and Y’s. Generation X are people born after the Babyboomers 1965-1979 and Generation Y are those born after 1980. Now these time frames may vary depending on the “expert” you are talking with. These three distinct groups have totally different styles of communicating. Being a Baby Boomer myself, along with the majority of you REALTORS® out there, we need to stay on top of all the methods of communicating for the various age groups.

Let’s start with the Xers. This group was referred to as the “Latch Key Kids”. Both parents worked, they were home alone after school and learned to be very independent at an early age. They like to be in control of the situation. As a REALTOR® I tend to back off a little as the Xers are well educated and qualified, but are skeptical of authority. The demands of family, children, high debt, keeping up with the Jones’ has created financial and emotional stress. These people are so busy you really need to identify, in the early stages of the relationship, how they would like you to communicate with them. I am finding this age group is being influenced more and more by their children (Gen Y) on how to communicate in today’s world. Xers are very internet savvy and if you want them to find you on the ‘NET’ make sure you have a strong website that is always changing with great information to ensure they keep coming back.

Now I’d like to talk about Generation Y and or the Millenials as they are often called. I find this group very challenging as I am dealing with it every day with my own children. This group was raised in a time when parents arranged play dates for their children. They did everything as a group. I see that with my own children today – they will not participate in anything unless their ‘Group of Friends’ are participating as well. They were taught to ‘respect the other children’ and maybe that is why they have little respect for their own parents. This group grew up multi-tasking and talk to several friends via text, Facebook, and Twitter simultaneously. I find it very frustrating with my own children when they are texting while I am talking to them. However, when I ask them a question about what I just said, to my amazement, they answer correctly. They are definitely a different breed. I have learned that Gen Y prefer text messaging for communicating. They will not respond to voice or e-mail for days or maybe not at all, or even respond to a telephone call, but will reply to a text within seconds.

Today’s REALTOR® must be willing to adapt to the ever changing world of communication. If you pay attention to the science fiction writers of the past and present you will be able to get a heads up on what the future will bring. In the late 1800’s H.G. Wells wrote about man going to the moon. In the Star Trek series of the sixties the communicator became the flip phone of the 90’s. In Star Trek The Next Generation the communicators were a badge on their shirt that they would tap – Bluetooth!  Talking to someone on another spaceship on the big screen – Skype! Who knows what the future will bring – maybe we will have the ability to read people’s minds. Oh, but wouldn’t that be a privacy issue???

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