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Communication has changed in the workplace—with many conversations starting with a digital handshake, in which someone reaches out through an email, Twitter, SnapChat, text, or instant message. Yet, if you were to ask baby boomer workers to rate the communication skills of Millennials, they would typically give them a failing grade.

According to a recent study by American Express and marketing firm Millennial Branding, a full ⅔ of managers prefer to communicate with their employees in person, while far fewer millennials see in-person communication as essential to accomplishing the task.

Millennials have been communicating in some way or another since they were born which seems to translate into some comfort level with communication. They are highly adept at using technology to facilitate at least the first point of contact; however, not so much with communicating face-to-face which is apparently unfamiliar territory. Their communication skills involve the different means these groups use to interact with others.

They exchange ideas through Twitter, but it really is a just  a read, then simply post one response then let the discussion go dead which does nothing for engaging in critical thinking or conversation. In a zealous rush to meet 21st-century demands, we are not asking Millennial to think and communicate in real time, and as a result having conversational competence might be the single-most overlooked skill in today’s work place.

In a New York Times column, Sherry Turkle, a psychologist, MIT professor, and the author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Ourselveswrote, “Face-to-face conversation unfolds slowly. It teaches patience. When we communicate on our digital devices, we learn different habits … we start to expect faster answers. To get these, we ask one another simpler questions. We dumb down our communications, even on the most important matters”. 

When communications are dumbed down, there can be communication misfires, especially among Baby Boomers and the Gen X’ers. While not a significant problem that sort of disconnect, pardon the pun, can put a strain on workplaces where baby boomer bosses have expectations that younger employees use the phone to forge relationships with clients..

Millennials tend to be very candid and chummy with people they barely know, including authority figures, and they often carry that approach over to emails and in-person conversations. With having a more informal style, they are not so focused on engaging in pleasantries and small talk. Getting right to the point may seem abrupt and that is  due to the curt nature of texts and tweets.  They need to be able to speak to someone on the phone or speak face-to-face— have a conversation, exchange of ideas using a wide range of communication skills. It is helpful to that younger workers get past the arrogance of technological self-sufficiency and become connected to the company, to their fellow employees and learn how to have in-person conversations.

 Technology will continue to revolutionize the ways we all communicate, and no employee young or old will survive without communication skills. Millennials do need to do some communication adjusting learned through face-to-face interactions, not  using a delete button to edit your words before you commit to them. 

And while Baby Boomers are used to face time and the younger workers prefer e-mail, or firing off an instant message or text to someone sitting in the next cube rather than walk over and talk to a co-worker,encourage them to take writing courses, teach them presentation skills and help them figure out when to respond by phone or in person rather than with an email or text, and not say” “you guys” when talking to a prospect . 

The burden should not be solely on companies to train them. School and colleges should be deeply involved in delivering training that is relevant by blending new and old communication methods into learning.