Millennials continue to get razzed for having their heads always buried in their phones. If you’re managing a Millennial, you can probably understand how frustrating it can be during the middle of a meeting. Those finger flicks and swipes can make the blood boil of even the most patient and zen-like manager.
If your answer is to disable the wireless signal or create a no-phone zone, then you’re asking the wrong question. Instead, ask yourself this: "How can I create a more engaging environment?"
You can't control the attention of Millennials. Even if you somehow manage to convince them to power down their devices, you won’t win their attention. Instead, you'll earn their resentment and you’ll likely gain a reputation as an irrelevant and outdated has-been.
However, you can control the message and the delivery of that message. The secret to engaging Millennials in meetings is crafting captivating content.
Think about it: You’re basically competing with hundreds of Slack conversations, emails, endless status updates, the 24/7 news cycle, and the prospect of beating their high score in the latest online game … all in the palms of their hands.
Your content needs to be more gripping than the latest trending hashtag or Instagram Story. It has to be more interesting than a Sports Center replay or Internet meme.
And guess what? It’s not just a Millennial thing. There's more competing for our attention than ever before. It takes very intentional communication to cut through the noise. It's a battle for people's attention, and the battle starts in the preparation and extends through the delivery. Having an audience turn off their phones is the lazy way out.
If you’ve come to the conclusion that attention can no longer be expected, you’re right. It has to be earned and as their manager, you have to take responsibility for getting and keeping the attention of your Millennial workers. So prepare meticulously and deliver with passion and brevity.
And when there’s no other choice or you’ve simply run out of options and you decide that phones must be shut off, then you owe a clear and compelling explanation as to why they cannot be used.
The Millennial generation worker of today demands transformative communications. Relying on what has worked in the past just doesn’t cut it anymore. Make today's tech your motivation to become a better leader and a better communicator. You’ll be glad you did.