Are You Teaching People Skills to Your Millennials?

John Krautzel
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The millennial generation has grown up with technology as a way of life. These professionals have utilized texting, instant messaging and communication apps as their primary means to connect with others personally and professionally. As a result, some managers have found that it is necessary to teach millennials how to expand their people skills and engage with clients and co-workers face to face.

Show the Importance of Face-to-Face Interaction

To teach millennials how to develop people skills, managers must get to know more about this generation's comfort level. It is common for young professionals to utilize social media and text messaging to speed up productivity, but many of these professionals don't realize that messages can be misinterpreted without face-to-face connections.

Highlight scenarios and examples of how miscommunication can impact the business, its profits and its relationships with clients. Focus on the importance of interpersonal communication while showcasing how these personal relationships have helped progress the company culture and the firm's success.

Engage Employees

Lead by example when teaching people skills to millennials. Meet with each employee one on one to discuss goals for communication while outlining strategies to build professional relationships. Model the type of communication you would like to see from your staff by making sure that your speech and emails are formal and consist of high-substance information. Create an agenda for each meeting regardless if it is a one-on-one meeting or a large staff meeting to show the importance of conveying information in an organized, focused and clear manner. Millennials who feel engaged and approached in less intimidating sessions are more likely to see the benefit of communicating with people directly. By modeling professional communication practices, you are ultimately preparing your workforce for company and client interactions.

Outline the Benefits

Millennials are eager members of the workforce who seek advancement. Show how people skills can provide the path to success at your firm and within the industry. When meeting with your millennial staff, show them why they should care about improving these skills. For example, cite research and examples of how poor communication can inhibit performance, sales and employee relations. Detail conflicts that have occurred as a result of misinterpreted conversations and lackluster face-to-face interaction.

Show this generation of professionals how their people skills are directly related to their growth within the company and the industry. Millennials are not only eager, but also focused on how they can further their careers. Show them how interacting with professionals in the field and building a network of industry colleagues can jump start their reputations as experts.

Become the manager millennials need and want by focusing on the importance of people skills. Model the behavior you would like to see to ultimately improve relationships within your company and for your millennial staff.

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