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That's So Reg



Millennials and Meetings

Reggie Leonard II

Millennials and Meetings

I recently had the privilege of speaking with Amy Stretten of Fusion TV, providing a Millennial perspective on the role of smartphones in meetings. Our conversation was based on a recent article published by Forbes, entitled Why Successful People Never Bring Smartphones Into Meetings. Admittedly, I found myself agreeing with many of the findings presented in the article, while also seeing a sense of irony presented throughout.

If Millennials are so lazy and entitled, how can they also be so busy and consumed with multitasking? How can the #PhoneStack hashtag on Instagram and Twitter have so much engagement if Millennials do not value respect and attentive listening?

In order to address the aforementioned discrepancies, and to provide some insight from the perspective of one Millennial with the privilege of working with hundreds of others each year, I’ve come up with some tips for Millennials and those looking to hire them. The list goes as follows:

Hiring Managers Looking to Employ Millennials

1. Provide an agenda. Whether it is verbal or written, it helps Millennials to know that there is a flow and sense of order to the meeting.

2. Give them buy in. Patronizing Millennials with unintelligible questions for the sake of “engagement” is something that will be seen right through. They’ve engaged at the university level for a significant period of their life, started a student organization, presented at conferences in their field, and have a decent following online, yet when they’re in the office, they’re relegated to a back corner of the table taking notes and following orders. If they’re used to influencing people in every area of their lives except this one, and are never given the opportunity to do so in the office, it is difficult for them to feel valued as a part of the team.

Even if it is not appropriate for them to have buy in on a current project, ask them to share what they’re working on, or a relevant innovate idea they’ve recently generated or come across. You would be surprised at what they can come up with.

3. Set Guidelines. Recently, numerous  studies have begun to show that multitasking is not all that it has been cracked up to be. It is completely reasonable to request that smartphones not be used during meetings, formal or informal. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that Millennials live by their smartphones, and their calendars and schedules are a large portion of that usage. If you will be throwing out dates and times in a meeting, consider allowing them to utilize their smartphones and tablets, just as other employees are allowed to use their leather-bound planners.

It is worth noting that there are some industries where employees are expected to be attached to their devices. In some cases, employers will even supply these workers with smartphones for work use

Millennials Working In More Traditional Work Environments

1. Communication and Respect Are Two-Way Streets. You may be able to send a quick text, check a couple of dates in your calendar, and shoot a quick email while retaining all of the information that your boss is sharing, but how will she know if your eyes are glued to the phone in your lap?

2. Be Present. My favorite bio from an Instagram profile simply read, “Be there. Do that.” If you’re in a meeting, be in the meeting, fully engaged. There’s something to be said for unplugging, and remaining present with your company. Trust and respect are earned, and sacrificing a brief moment of convenience for the sake of your coworkers communicates these ideals effectively. When your superiors and colleagues begin to trust and respect you, they may see more of a reason to follow some of the tips that I’ve provided above.  

3. Schedule Your Posts. If you really need to send that tweet, post that status on FB, or upload that blog post, consider using a service such as Buffer or an IFTTT recipe to schedule your post. This will allow you to share your content, remain engaged, and free you up to afford your colleagues the courtesy of being present.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of solutions, nor would I purport to speak on behalf of every single Millennial. However, I have seen the above ideas serve as solid solutions to the issue of disengaged Millennials in the workforce. 

What do you think? Feel free to leave some thoughts in the  comments section below.