From Socrates throughout recorded history and up to the present day, the older generation has complained about the younger. It’s tough, but it seems like a fun sport for older generations to criticize younger ones. Today, Millennials are getting proper criticism from boomers. Did you know that you are a bunch of liberal, lazy, self-proclaimed snowflakes? (And why do you keep living with your parents?)
Knowing that this has always been the case is a good start to letting noise go through your head, but it’s how you respond to complaints that will make all the difference.
Here are 3 ways to polish your manners, charm boomers – and anyone else – with your impeccable demeanor, and leave steam-haters with no reason to complain.
First of all, it’s great for knowing when to say no, not for you working hours “ 24 hours ” in search of a 6-figure income. You want that work-life balance to be in your favor. But is there a way to say “no” that keeps everyone happy? Yes there are. When asked to do something that doesn’t fit your schedule, acknowledge the request and the person who did it. Then give one (and only one) clear reason why the task is not for you, and see if you can come up with an alternative suggestion to keep the mood in good spirits.
Second, to avoid the “me, me, me” label, try asking some interesting questions and practice your listening skills. Millennials have been accused of ‘conversational narcissism’ – a tendency to shift a conversation towards themselves and their priorities, so be sure to notice if you’ve done this and make sure you go back to the other person and ask more about them. Balancing a conversation is a skill that should be practiced, but you cannot be accused of self-interest if you have spent time intentionally asking about someone else!
Third, they are apparently hypersensitive souls who have none of the spirit of the British Bulldog that defeated our enemies in the past. As irritating as this may be, it’s time to spread praise to those who challenge the way you interact with the world. Anyone who expresses the opinion that their way of doing things is the best, is revealing the need to be recognized and the desire to have their status recognized. Breathe, smile, and appreciate your beliefs. Ask their opinion, try “What do you think about …?” or ‘How do you feel about …?’ If you do it well enough, you will have the opportunity to express your own views and perhaps even begin to influence theirs.
Changing your mind is difficult, and we can’t do it by getting on the other side of the argument and yelling rebuttals. As Stephen Covey said, “Try to understand, before you can be understood.” Manners are polite ways of behaving: considering others and putting their needs before ours. It is not always easy, but it is always worth the effort.
About the expert
Janie Van Hool is a leading communication expert specializing in executive coaching and leadership development programs. Janie teaches the art of communication, presence and impact to professionals in a variety of organizations, from the construction industry to investment banking. As the founder and director of VoicePresence (www.voicepresence.co.uk), Janie has worked as a workshop facilitator and individualized coach for over 20 years, enhancing the communication skills of executives and creating listening cultures in the company. Janie is the acclaimed author of The Listening Shift: Transform Your Organization by Listening to Your People and Helping them Listen to You (Practical Inspiration, 2021). The book explores the power of listening, which often goes unnoticed when it comes to business communication. It’s the ultimate guide to learning how to overcome noise and expert listening. The Listening Shift builds on the learning and experiences she has gained as a RADA-trained classical actress, voice teacher (she has a master’s degree in voice studies), from her research in Performance Psychology at the University of Edinburgh, and from her years volunteering as a Samaritans listener in the UK.