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MAYBE BOOMERS’ MUSIC WAS BETTER THAN TODAY’S MUSIC, but our clothes were ridiculous. We were self-centered libertines in youth, we cannot multitask, and we have a fetish for the telephone. Now we run the company. Until us Baby Boomers all die, retire or get outvoted, everyone else has to decide how best to communicate with us. Did you know that Baby Boomers constitute 40% of the US population, control 50% of all private wealth, occupy 70% of business management positions, and possess $2.3 trillion in annual spending power? Only 11% expect to stop working altogether upon retirement. Disclaimer: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention – the following article is filled with gross generalizations and stereotypical behaviors. Not all of them are positive, but all of them subjective and based on the experience of a qualified member of the Boomer Generation. Readers with a finely tuned sense of political correctness will likely be outraged. Read at your own risk. Yes, we Boomers are judgmental. It comes with age.
A. The “Veterans” aka the “Greatest Generation”- also the “Silent Majority” and to Boomers “The Establishment.” Born before 1946, children of war, a real Depression, privation and 20th-century chaos, they were often utterly despised by Boomers in our youth.
B. The “Boomers” aka the “ME Generation.” Born 1946 – 1964, we migrated from “Leave it to Beaver” to Woodstock in less than a decade. Much of our character was formed in reaction to the Veterans’ “bourgeois” behavior.
C. Gen-X’ers and Y’ers (“Millenials”). Let me just say, this is not about you. Please define yourselves elsewhere. Popular literature is replete with hand-wringing observations that you are “The End of Civilized Society.” If Boomers did not trigger the downfall of the species, then neither likely are you.
The telephone is surely our preferred communication device, but it is not our preferred method. Boomers prefer face-time over Facebook, and spoken words vs. texts.
A. What the various generations prefer is what they grew up with:
B. Boomers’ order of preference for business communications:
(1) Face to Face. Boomers attended college lectures, not online podcasts.
(2) In-person, conference-room meetings.
Meetings are great with coffee and donuts. PowerPoint is optional, but remember darkened rooms beget chins-on-chest after lunch. The room will always be stuffy or frigid.
(3) The telephone. Boomers grew up with TV and land-line telephones. As with music, we remain most comfortable with what we first learned at 14.
(4) Voicemail. This is an extension of the telephone, not of email. Do not express anything on voicemail (or in an email) you do not want read back to you at your next salary and performance review, or under cross-examination on the witness stand.
(5) Email. Use email, especially after-hours, unless an emergency arises. Then call. The only reliable way to get a Boomer’s immediate answer is to call, not text.
(6) Texts and Social Media. These are the bottom of the preferred list. Unless you know for certain that your Boomer-reader is a texter, a dedicated Facebook addict or a tweeter, the preferred method to reach a Millenial is the last choice to reach a Boomer.
“[Boomers] need to realize how important acknowledgment is, but the younger generations need to realize they’re not going to get an I.V. drip of praise.” ~ Dana Brownlee, Professionalism Matters
Frank Drake is a senior partner in the firm and has more than 30 years of legal experience. He concentrates his creditors’ rights practice in the areas of bankruptcy and commercial litigation. Frank represents credit unions, banking and financial institutions, consumer and commercial lenders, and student loan agencies. Frank has taught classes on bankruptcy and commercial law for various Bankers Associations as well as the National Association of State-Chartered Credit Union Supervisors and various states’ Credit Union Leagues....LEARN MORE