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How to Speak to an Xer

Posted on January 09, 2007

By Ann Fishman

Today, we’ll look at one important Gen X characteristic - and exchange ideas about tweaking meetings and conferences to fit younger generations without alienating other generations.  The more you know about X’s generational characteristics, the better you can tailor your meetings.  So, here we go!

Xers are practical: how will this influence the speakers you hire or invite?

1. Xers want substantive information that can help them advance in their current jobs or become better prepared when they move on.  Motivational speakers don’t motivate them. 
2. Xers want information they cannot get off the Internet or from a book.  They don’t like to waste their time. 

3. Xers want to hear from speakers who are in a position of power.  They want to know how the game is played.

4. If speakers use PowerPoint, Xers expect speakers to use it correctly:
- use PP slides only when necessary
- don’t put up a laundry list of multiple points you are about to make
- think in email: write short on your slides

5. Speakers should customize their speeches to fit the needs of the audience and try to find out which generation will dominate the audience.  If this is not possible, a speech that will satisfy the needs of Xers in the audience will generally satisfy all generations.

Xers, send me your thoughts on techniques of speakers you enjoyed and techniques of speakers you felt were a waste.  No names please!


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Jim in Cincinnati

Thank You! I have noticed a real generational warfare going on lately. I don;t think the Boomers have a chance against us.

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