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Presenting to Millennials: What Not to Do In Front of Gen Y

With their generation being one of the largest in history, millennials are bound to be future game changers of the global economy. Despite the negative image given by mainstream media, presenting to millennials is easier than it seems. It isn’t that hard to appeal to their ideals.

However, there are some red flags to watch out for when appealing to this demographic. Taking time to look up their culture as a generation would tell you what to avoid during a presentation. If you don’t have the time to browse through all of them, we compiled three of millennials’ biggest pet peeves.

Stereotypes and Insensitivity

This goes on top of the list. Also known as Generation Y, there are plenty of stereotypes perpetuated about millennials. While not all of them are bad, Generation Y has probably heard most, if not all, of them. Don’t fall into the trap of using any of these to try and relate to your audience. This will more likely than not annoy them.

Antagonizing their generation isn’t going to get you any positive feedback either. Generation Y culture is known to be passion-driven and creative, so using conservative ideas may not sit well with them. Instead of banking on common stereotypes, do thorough research on your audience’s preferences and incorporate these into your content.

Your target market will be happy you made the effort.

Lack of Relatability

Millennials value memorable and authentic experiences over anything. This has led some to label them a self-absorbed and superficial generation. But they’re actually more up to date than anyone else. With their proficiency with social media, they’re sufficiently well-informed about current events apart from their friends’ lives.

Millennials are also one of the most educated generations. A Chris Altcheck and Pew Research Center showed that 54% hold college degrees. It’s not that Generation Y doesn’t care for hard facts, it’s that they prefer palatable visuals and content.

Presenting clear and readable visuals can actually make more of an impact than a slide saturated with too many numbers and data. Use graphic design to present data in a visually appealing way. If you’re having trouble deciding how to use visuals to your advantage in the face of a millennial audience, consult with a presentation expert.

Once you master the general Generation Y visual language, you’ll get better responses.


The average human attention span has evolved to be less than a goldfish’s. You can’t expect millennials to sit through an entire two-hour lecture without fidgeting towards the first half hour. To get attention, you don’t have to be too flashy. Keep your performance simple and forward.

This allows listeners to digest the information quicker and more efficiently. But it doesn’t have to be extremely brief or boring, either. Aside from a well-designed PowerPoint and a strategic speech, you have to make sure to involve people.

The AMA Playbook compiled eight tips from public speaking coach and Well Said founder, Darlene Price, on engaging and interesting an audience. Keep people attentive by prompting them with questions and asking them to participate. This strengthens your connection with them, making sure they invest in your presentation.


Millennials are a very diverse generation. Being grouped together doesn’t necessarily mean that their preferences are all identical. However, you can learn to appeal to them by incorporating a few techniques in your presentation.

You can also avoid the ire of your young audience by avoiding things that they commonly dislike. Using stereotypes inconsiderately, being unable to explain yourself, and being downright stiff may bore Generation Y. Always consider the audience in planning your presentation.

Making that effort can ensure a positive response from people.



Almond, Meredith and Mandi Cox. “Five Major Millennial Misconceptions Marketers Miss.” Sparkloft. Accessed October 11, 2015. www.sparkloftmedia.com/blog/thoughts/millennials
“Millennials Infographic.” Goldman Sachs. Accessed January 5, 2016. www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/millennials
“Presentation Tips: 8 Ways to Captivate and Engage Your Audience .” AMA Playbook. June 1, 2014. Accessed October 11, 2015. www.playbook.amanet.org/presentation-tips-8-ways-to-engage-your-audience
Watson, Leon. “Humans Have Shorter Attention Span than Goldfish, Thanks to Smartphones.” The Telegraph. Accessed October 11, 2015. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11607315/Humans-have-shorter-attention-span-than-goldfish-thanks-to-smartphones.html


Featured Image: “Young man and woman taking pictures of each other” by ralphbijker on flickr.com

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