Speech Outline

1 January 2017

What a Difference a Generation Makes To inform the audience about the differences between three generations. Several key features influenced the three most recent generations: Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. Introduction: We’re living in an age when multiple generations are working side by side in the workplace. According to Zemke, Raines, and Fillipczak, authors of the 2000 book Generations at Work, generational differences can create problems in the workplace. Everyone in this room may not be from the same generation.

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I’m a member of the Millennial generation, and I have read extensively about generational differences. Because all of you are part of one of the generations that I’ll discuss today, I think you will find the information interesting, too. A generation is defined by historians Neil Howe & William Strauss in their book Millennials Rising written in 2000 as a “Society-wide peer group,” born over approximately the same time period, “who collectively possess a common persona” (p. 40). Each generation is characterized by defining historical events, such as 9/11, that happen in their formative years.

These events shape the attitudes, beliefs, and values of a generation. The Vietnam War, the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion, and the Columbine shootings are defining moments for each of the three generations I will discuss. Drawing from Ron Zemke’s insightful book, Generations at Work, today I’m going to explain several key features that characterize the three most recent generations.

In summary, I have informed you about several key features that influenced the three most recent generations: Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. You can see how these three generations differ from one another, so imagine how their contrasting values and interests might clash in the workplace. Given the time constraints, I have provided you with only a few features of each generations. I would encourage you to read more about the generations. You might find it valuable in your workplace in the future. Which makes you wonder, what could the future hold for the next generation?

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