communicating with millennials: a guide for baby boomers


Obviously, the way we communicate is changing rapidly.

As a true millennial (who, true to stereotype, spent all her money on lattes and avocados and therefore will never own a detached house), the thought of having to wait in line at a store without checking my phone haunts me. I use Instagram as a verb, and I refer to texting as talking.

I don’t use Snapchat, because it allows me to be pretentiously “above all that.”

Right. Anyway.

I’ve now found myself in a role where my entire job is to communicate. Internally, we use Skype, email, Google Docs, and an Oracle task-management system. Externally, I use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn,, the company blog, and any other websites that will let me.

That’s a lot of different tones to keep straight.

With an entire team in their twenties, our standard internal communication includes emojis and lols and either way more or way less punctuation than is normal or correct. I’m an editor with formal training from an internationally-recognized university who recently wrote the sentence: “Pizza is the best hahaha and also (sidebar) do you find that collagen makes your arm hair darker??”


That doesn’t mean I don’t know what’s grammatically correct; it just means I choose to communicate in a way that doesn’t make me feel like a cold-hearted snob who’s angry all the time.

Dear people over 50 who write emails, yes, that’s how you actually sound to people our age.

But in our task management system, I have access to tasks that were created by people who left the company years ago. If I write in a style that I feel is clear and concise but also informal and friendly, is someone going to come along five years from now and look down on me for being unprofessional? (Does that really even matter?)

I mean, I ate half a batch of cookies at my desk the other day, which is also not technically professional — but no one knew at the time, and no one’s going to remember that in five years (note to self: delete this post in 4 years and 11 months).

Full disclosure: I probably would have eaten the whole batch, but I only brought half of it to the office with me.


Anyway, I don’t know where this is going. Suffice to say that if you send me an email, include a happy face or an exclamation mark or two. I’ll like you a lot more for it.

Oh, you want to know more about cookies? They were these:

Sugar Cookies with Sprinkles

Lightly adapted from The Vancouver Sun


  • one cup butter, at room temperature
  • one cup granulated sugar
  • two eggs
  • two teaspoons vanilla
  • three and a half cups all-purpose flour
  • two teaspoons cream of tartar
  • half teaspoon baking soda
  • half teaspoon baking powder
  • a couple tablespoons of milk and rainbow sprinkles


  1. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until fully incorporated. Stir in vanilla. Sift in dry ingredients. Mix well.
  2. Divide dough into three roughly equal parts, wrap in saran wrap and press to flatten (they’ll be easier to roll out and will cool faster this way). Place in the fridge for at least four hours. You can also freeze the dough at this stage (just defrost in the fridge for a few hours before using).
  3. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Roll out the dough (one package at a time; leave the others in the fridge to stay cold – they’ll be somewhat less sticky this way) on a well-floured surface. I like my cookies on the crispier side, so I roll mine to about a quarter of an inch thick, but you can adjust according to your preferences.
  4. Use a cookie cutter to make your desired shapes, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet about half an inch to an inch apart (they will spread a little, but not much).
  5. Use a pastry brush to brush a thin layer of milk over the cut cookies, and sprinkle sprinkles on top (I tried to think of a better way to say that; I really did).
  6. Bake! Again, the baking time will depend on how crispy you want them, but mine took about ten to twelve minutes.

4 thoughts on “communicating with millennials: a guide for baby boomers

  1. If you could communicate with a baby-boomer how to set up a blog site, I for one would be so grateful. 🙂 And thanks for the tips in communicating with your gen. Note the abbreviation 😉

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