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9 Rules of the Road for Reaching Millennials

Yesterday, I posted a slide deck about “Social Media: Time Saver or Sucker?” from my talk at a National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) professional development event. Well, I was busy at the event and also presented on marketing and leading Millennials.

Below is that deck:
9 Rules of the Road to Reach Millennials

View more presentations from GovLoop.

And here are some of my notes for each slide:

Rule 1: Know where they are
For Communicators:
– Browse niche social networks or millennial-created blogs to get a sense of flavor and tone

For Leaders:
– How do you feel about texting your employees?
– How about using tools like Blackberry Messenger, Gchat or Yammer?
– Blocking is futile; if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.
– Beyond tech: What’s their baseline? Why are they with you?
– Read more about this unique generation:
=> Claire Raines
=> Strauss and Howe
=> Jennifer Deal
=> HBR’s Tammy Erickson

Rule 2: Know where they wanna go
For Communicators:
– What motivates millennials? Altruism, doing good, greater good
– How can you create a listening tool with this audience?
– Google Alerts is one option

For Leaders:
– Create challenges and opps to use innovation and be creative (vs. doing it the way it’s always been done
– If you listen and let them drive, you will earn respect…if you try to drive (or drive too hard), you will lose it.
– Mentorship is vital

Rule 3: Give them clear directions
For Communicators:
– Clear, crisp calls to action
– Not a lot of words
– Keep it “real” and tied to “reality” (think American Idol and Justin Bieber)

For Leaders:

– Communicate your vision clearly – tie into that altruism/do-goodership
– Make outcomes obvious – what, by when
– If there is an important ‘how’, spell it out…otherwise, let them be creative
– Establish and communicate policies…but also enable them to give input on them and develop new policies that are fair (especially around technology, attire, etc.)

Rule 4: Let ‘em road trip it
For Communicators:
– How can you make your communication fun and stimulating?
– How can you enable them to do it (i.e. upload photos, videos, vote on stuff, etc.)?
– They’re not just Gen Y – they are “Gen DIY”!
– Be personal – you’re on the journey with them
– Reach them along the way – in places like GovLoop (and get in the car with them)

For Leaders:
– They love to work in teams
– Again, let them drive
– Flexibility is critical – work from anywhere (if tasks are clear, does the where and how really matter?)
– Allow work to be fun and stimulating

Rule 5: Establish stops along the way
For Communicators:
– Think gaming – get prizes as move to higher levels of difficulty
– Do this, get that…build toward finale
– Limited edition, limited time frame – months-long campaigns lost interest…sometimes 2 weeks is too long!

For Leaders:

– Break bigger projects into bite-size chunks with shorter deadlines, creates urgency
– More like video games and better for multi-taskers

Rule 6: Do frequent status check-ins

For Communicators:
– Foursquare, gaming
– How can you get in front of them frequently and succinctly?

For Leaders:

– Like Rule 4, praise along the way…don’t wait for annual review (they’ll be gone)
– How am I doing as important as what am I doing?
– If you’re brave, make it two-way communication

Rule 7: Make ‘em feel special

For Communicators:
– Tie messages and calls to actions to clear rewards/incentives
– Doesn’t always need to be real prize…virtual street cred is cool, too
– Again, respect their role in the process
– Make them famous
– It’s not about your brand, it’s about theirs!

For Leaders:
– One congresswoman recorded her staff (and office dog!), posted on YouTube – let’s the world know she’s proud of them
– More work does not necessarily equal a reward…more flexibility works better.
– Change in title is also good (sense of movement, advancement)
– Changing projects…not just piling a new project on top of others.

Rule 8: Stay connected if they take a detour
For Communicators:
– If you’ve got their phone number, you’re golden (not to call, to text)

For Leaders:

– Create alumni programs to stay connected – could be a Facebook page/group…or on GovLoop!

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