Miscommunication Across The Generations - My Personal View.

There is no doubt that older generations sometimes have difficulty understanding younger generations when communicating with them, and vice versa. Communication style and the words that we use has changed dramatically over the last 30 years due to advances in technology, mobile phones being the primary culprit.

With the advent of text messaging in the early 1990's, we were restricted in how many words we could use in our message. Plus, we had to strike the #1 button three times to reach the letter 'C' then we had to wait for the cursor to move forward before we entered the next character.

This resulted in our words becoming abbreviated and our sentences much shorter which then carried across into our verbal communication.

As technology advanced, we no longer had to meet with people; we could now send them messages in the form of an email, video, photo, shorter message, emoticon and GIF file to express what we might previously have said face-to-face or on the phone. We still have a phone with us but would now much rather send them our message in electronic format.

As each generation was born, the uptake on electronic communications was swift resulting in reduced face-to-face interaction and the inability to learn acceptable social skills such as seeking clarification if there is a misunderstanding.

Other social skills such as your-turn-my-turn, debating, appropriately challenging what was said, and and showing facial expressions all diminished.

A small number of the experienced generation continued with their existing communication style and words, some of which are no longer acceptable in today's world. I am one of these experienced generation and sometimes say inappropriate things unconsciously because it was acceptable when I was learning and growing up. It is not until it is brought to my attention that I realise what I had said was inappropriate. This, for me, is a lifelong habit which is often hard to break.

The fault in miscommunication across the generations rests with us all, regardless of our generation, but mostly it rests with the older generation. Most of the younger generation do not like face-to-face communication conflict. Instead, they would rather express their frustrations later on, often through social media.

What we, as the experienced generation, once said to each other which was appropriate is now rightly considered to be viewed as bullying, racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. We, the older generation, need to change the words that we use and the way that we express ourselves.

It's not political correctness, it is just correctness.

Furthermore, it is incumbent upon us as the 'experienced' generation to educate the younger generation on how to communicate appropriately when they wish to seek clarification or to challenge what was said. It is up to us as the experienced communicators to show the younger generations the many benefits of communicating face-to-face in a manner which is non-confrontational.

Not all blame can be laid at the feet of the experienced generation. Younger generations need to change what they say and the way in which they say it. Mostly, they need to spend more time talking with people face-to-face and not electronically.

The only way that we can bring the generations together to avoid generational miscommunication is to talk more. Let's talk more.