Communicating with Different Generations: Baby Boomers to Gen Z

Blog, Family, Mindset

Throughout my day I’m chatting with clients, customers and friends and families that span Gen Z to Boomers. This has inspired me to become better at communicating with different generations. As an elder Millennial with young Gen Z kids I feel like I sit in an interesting space. This has created a lot of interesting conversations in our household and interesting experiences with how we all prefer to communicate.

In my experience, the best way to communicate is to meet the person where they’re at. So I thought I’d share some of the ways that each generation best communicates so that you can get more out of your conversations.

Remember that this isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of situation. These are generalizations, like all generational characterizations. This is a great starting off point as you’re working on your own communication style.

Communication Styles of Baby Boomers

(1946 – 1964, currently 59-77)
Baby Boomers didn’t grow up with technology, and have had to learn it alongside their kids or Gen X and Millennial co-workers.  They prefer face-to-face and more traditional styles of communication. When my dad communicates with us it’s either by phone or email, texting is not something he enjoy! 😂

When it comes to feedback, they prefer direct and clear. Responses may be delayed because they tend think more about what they want to say and how they feel about a situation.

Want to make a Boomer feel special? Send them a handwritten card or letter.

Overall, take into consideration how comfortable the person is with technology. You’ll get better results if you create an environment that they feel comfortable in as opposed to forcing them to text, video chat, etc.

Favorite Catchphrases and Slang Words

Back in my day…
That’s the way the cookie crumbles.
Don’t count your chickens before that hatch
Cool Cat

Communication Styles of Generation X

(1965 – 1980, currently 43-58)
Gen X are direct and hones in their communication style. Younger Gen Xers have had technology in their life longer, but overall this generation doesn’t rely on technology for their communication. They prefer face-to-face, email or phone calls.

Building relationships and rapport with people is important so one-on-one converations are preferable. They like to listen and understand people so they can make thoughtful responses.

Overall, Gen X are thoughful and honest and a bit more flexibile in their communication style.

Favorite Catchphrases and Slang Words

As If
Talk to the hand
All that and a bag of chips

Communication Styles of Millennials

(1981 – 1996, curently 27-42)
Millenials grew up with technology in their life at a much younger age. In my opinion, this is when attention spans really started to get shorter. This generation definitely relys on digital forms of communication, gravitating to texting, email and DMs. Because of this, communication is usually shorter messages.

Millennials are also more comfortable sharing their personal stuff openly, thanks to social media. Communication for them might be one-way with the social posts as opposed to a two-way conversation.

While older generations might be frustrated by this shortened communication style, this doesn’t mean that Millennials don’t have meaningful conversations, they just look different.

Favorite Catchphrases and Slang Words

Squad Goals!
Netflix and chill
Adulting is hard
Do more of what you love

Communication Styles of Generation Z

(1997 – 2012, currently 11-26)
Gen Z is a generation that doesn’t know life without technology! My daughter is 14 and was born the same year as the iPad! They definitely rely on technology for their communication and love emojis and slang.

This generation also loves visuals like video. Conversations include lots of memes and they perfer video chats vs regular phone calls. A lot of their conversation also happens inside of apps like Snapchat and TikTok.

Gen Z is very direct in their style of communication. They tell it like it is. While. it might come across rude, you typically know what they think about the situation.

While you might need an Urban Dictionary to fully understand what Gen Z is saying, they are definitely very expressive in their own way. Use visuals, GIFs and emojis to communicate and reach them via text!

Favorite Catchphrases and Slang Words

on fleek
no cap
go off


While communication takes practice and learning, hopefully by understanding how people might want to communicate can help you make deeper connections. At the end of the day, simply asking someone how they prefer to communicate can go a long way. Also, thinking about what your preferences are so you can let people know can also help a lot. Afterall, communication implies at least two people participating.

Want to dive deeper? Here are some additional resources you might find helpful.

Episode 9: Improving the Way You Communicate with Christine Marchand (available on Thursday)
Forbes Article: How to Communicate Effectively in a Multigenerational Organization
Family Education Article: A Parents Guide to Understanding Gen Z Humor