Clash of the Codes: When Generations Can’t Connect
Communication Styles Across Generations


Have you noticed how sometimes people in your workplace don't seem to understand each other, even though they speak English? This disconnect often arises because different generations communicate in various ways - leading to awkward encounters and missed opportunities.

Understanding Different Communication Styles Across Generations

What’s Wrong? 

John is a veteran professional who favors efficiency and directness when communicating, often using succinct emails to convey his points. Sadly, while effective for him, Emma finds John’s approach impersonal as she prefers longer discussions involving emoticons for emotional context – thus mistaking John’s cold emails for coldness or invitingness. Unfortunately for John and Emma, this style leads them down different paths, making Emma feel undervalued while John remains unaware of its negative ramifications for both parties involved.  

Sarah, a 40-year-old innovative yet unconventional reporter, faces difficulties advancing her career. Relying on old technology and non-mainstream applications may be seen by her younger colleagues as a failure to adapt – potentially hindering her professional advancement and emphasizing an issue within the workplace: generational differences hinder communication and embrace technology with great enthusiasm. 

Both scenarios demonstrate the need for an inclusive workplace culture that recognizes and bridges generational gaps. By cultivating an environment in which various communication styles and technological preferences are acknowledged and valued, organizations can ensure all employees, regardless of age, feel appreciated while having equal chances for success.  

The Experts  

Experts such as Lindsey Pollak and Chip Espinoza point out that generational differences create communication gaps. Older people may prefer formal forms of speech, while young people lean more toward text messaging, sharing videos online, and getting immediate replies from one another.  

How Can It Be Fixed

Jennifer J. Deal has some inspiring ideas on how all parties involved can coexist more harmoniously: 

Understand Everyone’s Origins: Remember that people aren’t intentionally difficult; they simply use what they know.  

Appreciate All Generations’ Strengths: Each age offers something truly valuable – let’s use our differences together as strengths! 

Try to See Each Other’s Point of View: Before becoming frustrated, take time to see things from their point of view and consider why someone might prefer different means of communicating. 

Learn From Each Other: Partnering young and senior colleagues together allows everyone to learn new tricks while appreciating different perspectives. 

Implementing these tips will make the workplace much friendlier for all employees, not simply to avoid miscommunications; we want everyone to feel included and valued regardless of their age or position.  

We are here to help, and we would love to hear from you!

Cristina Ferreira da Costa
President & Founder
CDCConsulting Partners, LLC

+1 (404) 528 9792
[email protected]