National Speakers Association, Northern California, January Chapter Meeting

People try to put us d-down (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Just because we get around (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
Things they do look awful c-c-cold (talkin’ ’bout my generation)
I hope I die before I get old (talkin’ ’bout my generation)

The Who, 1965

Over 50 members and guests of the Northern California Chapter of the National Speakers Association gathered in Lafayette on Saturday to hear NSA National President Anna Liotta, CSP, deliver a program titled What’s Stopping Millennials/GenXers/Boomers from Hiring You, And What to Do About It.

She previewed her talk with a custom video addressed to the chapter:

Talkin’ ’bout my generation

For those Baby Boomers who didn’t die before they got old–and learned the value of trusting anyone over 30 a few decades back–Anna’s talk had particular poignancy. She explained how the recent OK Boomer meme is the equivalent of the advice not to trust anyone over 30. What goes around comes around. Here’s why…

Generational Codes

Anna Liotta has studied generational dynamics for over 25 years. Indeed, she wrote the book on generational CODES™.

What’s more, she’s lived the research. As one of 19 (!) children, her entire life has been a Ph.D. in generational dynamics. Her presentation addressed the question: What makes this age-old conflict of generational collisions and biases so important to us in business today?

Her concept of generational codes helps explain:

  • What defines each generation, including pivotal events and experiences that shaped it.
  • The truths and lies behind generational stereotypes.
  • How various generations define their work ethic.
  • How technology can bridge or break down generational communication.
  • The secrets of selling products and services to different generations.
  • What you need to know as a manager to find and retain new talent.

Anna demonstrated how, as speakers, we should develop savvy messages that appeal to the different generations.

This task is often confusing, as each generation has unique needs and motivators. Each brings its own set of attitudes, values, and beliefs to the workplace, and the way they do business. They make choices of who to buy from and who to work for, based on these values and beliefs. Understanding what shapes and forms each generation is vital.

Interestingly, each generation is sure that their values, attitudes, and beliefs are the right ones.

Her insight is that each generation is significantly influenced by what was happening in the world around them during their formative years. The ages of eight to 18 are when each generation is making decisions about how the world works and what’s possible. The events, icons, and leaders they see, experience, adore, and dislike are shaping their world. These influences set the paradigm for decision making, purchasing choices, and job selection for years to come.

Anyone doubting this can see the trajectory of individual lives play out in director Michael Apted’s films about a cohort of British Boomer children, the most recent of which–63 Up–opened in the US last month.

OK, Boomer!

My own rather self-satisfied response to the generational divide was to tweak the noses of the younger members of the audience who were strangely absent from the social media channel the chapter had promoted.

In her own words

I caught up with Anna after the event, and she shared her message with me, as well as an update on the changes that are occurring at the NSA. To hear what she said, click on the podcast below.

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