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The Good & the Bad: Presenting to a Generation X Audience

The Pew Research Center released a study saying that millennials are dominating the U.S. labor force. That’s more than one in three people or 56 million millennials working or looking for work.

However, it’s those who were born between 1965 and 1981 (Generation X) that are changing the nature of work. Gen Xers are dominating the playing field, having founded more than half of all new businesses.

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These are the people you should be presenting and marketing to.

America’s Neglected Middle Child

Despite the nickname, the appeal of Generation X has significantly risen due to their growing influence. People don’t hear much about them because all eyes are on the continuous rise of millennials and the slow retirement of baby boomers.

In a recent report provided by CNBC, however, it revealed that this generation is thriving, playing a critical—somewhat underappreciated—role in leadership while markets continue to grapple with digital transformation.

The Global Leadership Forecast 2018 showed that out of 25,000 leaders across 54 countries and 26 major industry sectors, Gen Xers account for 51% of leadership roles. And because they have an average of 20 years in the workforce, they are primed to quickly assume most executive roles.

The Advantages

Gen Xers have more money to spend than any other age group. Why? Because they are at the peak of their careers and income, which is why it’s no surprise that they have more cash to burn compared to the generations that preceded and succeeded them.

Apart from this, those who belong to this age group make up the majority of startup founders. This characterizes them as big thinkers who are unafraid to explore uncharted territory—always ready to absorb and try new ideas.

Lastly, they value authenticity. Be transparent with your presentation—be forward with your intentions. This age group holds strong family values, fueling their desire for safety and security. If your message reflects those values, then you’ll surely engage them.

The Drawbacks

Deemed as the “latch-key” generation, this age group doesn’t like being told what to do. They grew up in a time where they were left to their own devices while their parents were struggling to get new jobs because of a surge in nationwide layoffs.

Also, they’re not known to be the most tech-savvy, which is why you may want to keep it clean and simple on your customized PowerPoint presentation and focus on the execution of your delivery.

When marketing to a multigenerational crowd, not only will you have to tailor your topic to the appropriate audience, but your PowerPoint presentation has to be customized to suit their tastes, too.

Consider catering to Gen Xers. They may not be millennials, which make up the majority of the labor force, but they are at the peak of their careers and income. If you want to deliver an effective presentation to this age group, then make sure to look over this list of pros and cons to sell, compel, and inspire.

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“Survey Report: 2015 State of the Startup.” Sage. 2015.

Anovick, Paul and Merrill, Theresa. “Eight Effective Elements for Engaging a Multigenerational Audience.” American Management Association. October 18, 2011.

Neal, Stephanie and Wellins, Richard. “Generation X—Not Millennials—Is Changing the Nature of Work.” CNBC. April 11, 2018.–not-millennials–is-changing-the-nature-of-work.html

Fry, Richard. “Millennials Are the Largest Generation in the U.S. Labor Force.” Pew Research Center. April 11, 2018.

A Quick Presentation Lesson on Appealing to Millennials

Like them or not, millennials are set to take over the workplace in a few years. Here’s a quick presentation lesson to help you appeal to the so-called “ME, ME, ME” Generation.

Millennials are slowly taking over today’s workplace. In fact, it’s estimated that those born between the 1980’s and early 2000’s will constitute 75% of the global workforce in ten years. They are also becoming the most influential group in America.

As of the moment, there are around 80 million millennials and 76 million baby boomers. But every day, there are about 10,000 millennials who turn 21. As Nick Shore, MTV’s senior vice president pointed out, “This generation is reshaping today’s consumer and media markets.”

Considering these numbers, you’ll definitely have millennials watching some of your presentations. You’ll be able to succeed if you took into account their interests and values. While popular media like to represent millennials in a harsh light, commonly referring to them as entitled and narcissistic, there’s a lot more to learn about this growing generation. This quick presentation lesson aims to teach you how to appeal to America’s future decision makers.

Millennials look for transparency and authenticity

Millennials value authenticity and transparency from institutions. In fact, according to a study reported by TIME magazine, millennials chose transparency as one of the most important characteristics that a leader should have. The same pattern is resonant in their consumer choices. According to a study from The Boston Consulting Group, millennials follow the “I trust my friends more than ‘corporate mouthpieces'” mentality. They are hardly persuaded by traditional forms of advertising. Instead, they tend to seek out the opinions of their friends and read user reviews before making a purchase.

Presentation Lesson #1: In order to appeal to millennials, you have to keep your presentation completely authentic. In other words, don’t try to sell them promises you can’t keep. Be ready to back up your claims with data, demos, and testimonials. Show your millennial audience that you’re exactly what you say you are.

Millennials are purposeful and passionate

As found by MTV’s “No-Collar Workforce” study, millennials tend to look for work that gives them a sense of purpose. In fact, 95% say they are motivated to do better if they know where their work is going and half would rather be without a job than work in a field they hate. Nick Shore said this could easily be misread as being “picky” or feeling “entitled”. In truth, millennials are just wired to pursue their passions, after having been raised by parents as “Trophy Kids”.

Presentation Lesson #2: You should make the purpose of your presentation clear as soon as you begin. It’s crucial that your millennial audience sees the importance of your message. You should also express how passionate you are about whatever you’re presenting. Whether it’s a product or a project, show millennials that the subject of your presentation is something you truly care about.

Millennials value creativity and individuality

Another thing that millennials value is individuality. They would like to be free to express themselves creatively. Going back to MTV’s study, 93% say that they want to work at a job where they can be themselves, which includes being able to dress how they want. For millennials, there is always an opportunity to express their individuality and creativity.

Presentation Lesson #3: Separate your presentation from what they would usually see from others. Make use of visuals that go beyond the box. Make sure your PowerPoint design is more than just bullet points and stock photos. You should also put some effort into the content and structure of your presentation. Try to integrate stories, metaphors, analogies and references they can relate to.

Technology and connectivity are second nature

Millennials were born just as the face of technology was changing. Unlike baby boomers, their lives have been immediately entrenched into the world of computers, mobile phones, and the Internet. Social media is second nature to them. Millennials are used to being able to access knowledge and connect with others in just a few clicks.

Presentation Lesson #4: Try to keep your presentation focused and straight to the point. As we mentioned, millennials are used to being able to access information quickly. Dragging out your presentation will likely bore them. It might also cause them to take matters into their own hands, and research your topic themselves!

Likewise, your presentation should extend outside the auditorium or the boardroom. Make sure you don’t waste the opportunity to connect and follow-up with your millennial audience. Continue your conversation through e-mail, LinkedIn, or Twitter.


Millennials are a force to be reckoned with. They’re slowly taking over the workplace, as well as the consumer and media markets.

At some point, you’re bound to give a presentation with millennials in the audience. Make sure you don’t alienate their values and interests by keeping this presentation lesson in mind.



Schawbel, Dan. “Millennials vs. Baby Boomers: Who Would You Rather Hire?TIME. Accessed August 11, 2014.
Shore, Nick. “Turning On The “No-Collar” Workforce.” Media Daily News. Accessed August 11, 2014.


Featured Image: Shawn Ahmed via Flickr