Guest Post by Megan Ritter

Communication skills are always considered valuable, regardless of your age. That said, Millennials and recent grads haven’t exactly been lauded for their spoken or verbal communication abilities. Blame it on the proliferation of texting or other ways of speaking through technology; either way, it has a (sometimes) negative effect on this generation’s ability to find and maintain jobs. But these tips can help Millennials communicate effectively, increase their competitiveness in the job market and close the communication gap. {tweet this}


Find A Mentor

Prefer to text or instant message rather than have an actual meeting? Kill the anxiety by regularly chatting in person or over the phone with someone who you can essentially practice with safely, like an older (and hopefully wiser) mentor. What’s more, depending on where you work, your employer can help you find someone who you connect with – who will also understand and help you fulfill your career goals. And your potential mentors can likely learn about new technology and other internet-related trends from you – so it is a win-win situation.

Avoid Unnecessary Distractions

While the internet is a valuable resource in many ways, it is also a serious distraction – especially for the generation that grew up with the web at their fingertips. Being able to shut down the various notifications and other social media sites is essential to your success at work. And although it may be tempting to keep your Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and other accounts turned on, you may want to consider turning off the updates – at least during the times you are typically at the office.

Furthermore, look up from your screens! While they can provide plenty of useful information, looking at your coworkers and/or conversation partners in the eye is not only respectful; it will help you remember the discussion. Plus, you’ll pick up more info from the non-verbal cues that you get from observing their body language.

Recognize Your Faults – And Fix Them

It is not only important to understand your weak spots, but to make the effort to combat them and build up your skill set. If that involves speaking up in meetings and other methods of non-digital communication, don’t be afraid to practice! In fact, companies sometimes bring in experts to help employees learn how to be better public speakers – and that includes presenting and speaking up in meetings.

Real Expressions Are Crucial

Even if you text or instant message with someone every day, nothing beats an in-person conversation complete with actual expressions. Not even FaceTime or Skype can compete with real-time interactions. So whenever you can, have an actual meeting, a cup of coffee, or a similar connection with your clients, co-workers, managers, or anyone else you need to meet with. You can understand someone’s needs, desires, and goals much better when you see them in person – or even if you just talk to them over the phone. Never shy away from voice on voice connections!

LinkedIn Is Valuable – And Essential

Despite the value we place on in-person communication, using LinkedIn as a digital resume and connection tool is useful regardless of your generation. But it is especially important for anyone who is part of the millennial group or even younger. And you don’t need to speak to anyone in person to communicate about your skills and abilities.

There is plenty of advice online that will help you create a LinkedIn profile that boosts your viewer’s engagement and therefore your career; but overall, having a profile with a professional and current picture that’s completely filled out and contains relevant keywords is ideal.

At the end of the day, the most important element of closing the communication gap is recognizing it in the first place. {tweet this} You may prefer to text, g-chat, or send instant messages through other means, but your boss or clients may want to get a phone call or have an in-person meeting – and the one who signs the checks generally deserves to get their preference in this regard. Closing the communication gap is important if you are a millennial employee.

Guest Author

Megan RitterMegan Ritter is a business journalist and entrepreneur from California. She hopes you enjoy this article and encourages you to check out all the other great content on Thin Difference.