As a senior, there have been plenty of times that you probably haven’t be able to get along with younger generations. You may present your points, but they are quickly disregarded, as if you are just not smart enough. This can be aggravating and insulting, which can lead to isolation and depression.
While you can’t control what other people think and do, you can do something about the way that you speak to young people. This change in the way you speak with them can help you get through, so you don’t end up being shut down.
Many young people will feel as though they are more important. While this isn’t quite fair, it will better for you if you just allow them to speak their mind. If not, they will continuously cut you off and not hear a word you’re saying.
As much as you want to interrupt the person speaking to you, try your hardest not to do it. What happens when you interrupt is that the young person will feel as he/she needs to defend whatever point he/she is making. This happens even if there is no need to defend anything. It’s just a reaction when someone feels as though a person is trying to take over a conversation.
Nod and Smile
Nodding and smiling shows the person you are listening and taking everything in that is being said. If you just stand there with a blank stare or you start to look around the room or even walk away, the person will feel as though you are not listening even if you are hearing everything. Be attentive and expressive non-verbally to make the person feel validated.
Bring in the Person When You Speak
It’s now time to speak for yourself. Keep in mind that young people probably haven’t read this article, so they won’t treat you the same way you have treated them. They may interrupt you, look away, and just not listen to you. Remaining calm and asking the person to please hear you will bring that person back into focus.
When you are making points, go ahead and say things like:
- Just like you mentioned…
- I completely agree with…
- While that was a good point, I believe…
- Could we try…
- When you said…
This not only shows the person you were listening, but that you are also considering what you’re saying. You are compromising with the person even when there is no decision to be made. You are simply be cordial by including that person in your thoughts and opinions.
Keep the Focus on the Person You’re Speaking to with Some Focus on You
If you focus the entire conversation on yourself, young people will turn away. They like to be the center of attention because again, they feel important. Try to keep the conversation on the other person. You can input things about yourself as it relates to that person. This is the way to get through to young people without being turned away.
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