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VOL. 44 | NO. 4 | Friday, January 24, 2020

OK, boomer, how do you want to communicate?

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There are many ways to communicate. There’s old-fashioned in-person talking, talking on a landline at home or work and talking on a cellphone. Then, there’s email and texting.

If you keep going, you’ll find things like messaging on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and so many more.

Chances are good you assume other people prefer to communicate the way you do. For example, if you’re comfortable with texting on your phone for business, you might do it without consideration as to whether the person on the other end is OK with it, too.

But, we’re in the middle of an interesting time in communications, with many different generations working together in a single workplace.

There are those who didn’t use computers until they were well into their professional careers. There are those in Generation X who grew up without computers and then with them later in school. And, then you have those who don’t remember a time without computers or cellphones.

Every generation could have different communication preferences. Even within a generation, the preferences vary.

One person might feel completely comfortable texting any time of day or night about work. Another might feel completely comfortable calling. A third might think nothing about sending an email with many people copied.

The problem is, we don’t openly discuss our preferences and might annoy those we work with.

It’s not to say that disclosing our own preference will mean everyone will accommodate our wishes. But, if we don’t talk about the differences, we won’t know where the pitfalls are. After all, there’s no one right way to communicate.

I prefer not to text about work. I’d rather have an in-person conversation, a phone call or an email. Email feels easiest for me, though there are times when a live conversation is more effective.

Whatever you do, don’t assume. You might even want to talk to your team at work and establish communication guidelines:

What does each person prefer?

Is it OK to text or email at night or on the weekends?

When is it appropriate and when should things wait?

Are there times when a meeting is more effective, or is the efficiency of email the way to go?

The same thought process should be applied to job interviews. If you are an employer, be aware that job seekers might not love it that you text them or call with no notice.

You’re right that they’ve never complained. It’s because they’re hoping to get a job from you and want to be easy to work with.

If you’re the candidate, rely on more traditional communication methods such as phone and email. Don’t assume the company is OK with a text.

And only call if the recruiter or hiring manager has given you their contact information.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

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