“How do I traffic a millennial?”

A co-worker recently shared a USA Today article with me regarding the millennial (“Gen Y“) population segment. The article, based on interviews with various millennials, reaffirmed what I’d already suspected — I’m getting old. More than once, I caught myself saying, “When I was younger…” (out loud, no less, further confirming my path toward senility).

In my previous life as a Traffic Manager, I dealt with many different personality types on a daily basis — the “pleasers,” the “arguers,” the “lazy few,” the “professionals,” the “ambitious,” the “creative,” the downright “confused.” The manner in which millennials should be dealt with is no different. You have to first know what motivates them and then communicate in a way they understand. 

The Baltimore Sun recently shared its view on the, “Top 10 Personality Traits of the Millennial Generation;” among them:

• A need for instant gratification (“Can we have it yesterday?”)
• Short attention spans (“Look! A bunny!”)
• Multiple personalities (online vs. in person)
• An ability to multi-task

These characteristics alone tell me that a millennial Account Executive (AE), for example, is going to expect a short turnaround time on the ad, only give me a few minutes of his/her time to explain what’s needed and will, most likely, be thinking about three other things while we’re talking. As a Traffic Manager, I have to keep these things in mind when managing the project. I can’t be put off by the AE asking multiple times where the ad is on the Critical Path and why it isn’t done yet. I may find myself explaining (several times) that ads take time, other (hotter) items are ahead in the queue, and so on. The ad will get done, but perhaps not in the timeframe s(he) expects as a millennial.

The above scenario is just one example. And, not every millennial is the same. I’d love to hear what type of communication situations you’ve found yourself in (and how they were resolved) while working with this group; please share!

Now, where did I put my keys?

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