Each day, I see a new “millennial expert” come on the scene and promote various coaching and speaking services. If you review their background, they tend not to have much experience at all, aren’t well researched and are of a completely different generation. If you’re looking for a trusted source on the topic of millennials, make sure that you’re using the following criteria to evaluate them before you engage:
1. Be an actual millennial. There are a lot of consultants, speakers and authors who talk about the millennials generation, yet aren’t even in the generation. They typically fall into either the Gen X or Baby Boomer category. This typically happens because older generations are trying their hardest to stay relevant and take advantage of the opportunities to consult in this space. There’s been so much in the news about millennials, and companies are struggling to understand them, so these older consultants are inserting themselves into those corporate conversations. I believe you have to be a millennial to understand millennials because we offer a new way of thinking and can more easily describe how we behave and why because we’re living it.
2. Conduct primary research. If you want to be a legitimate expert, you have to do your homework just like in any field. If you’re just regurgitating the research of other experts than you’re just a derivative of them and won’t be paid as much. If you’re serious about being a millennial expert, then conduct your own research. This could be regular phone calls with millennials or surveying them online through a third party service. I see too many so called “experts” who are just copying and pasting public research into their presentations or on their websites.
3. Have a regular connection to millennials. If you aren’t constantly speaking with millennials, then how do you know what they want, what they buy and what companies they want to work for? Millennials typically have more friends who are millennials than older generations do and the average millennial is connected to at least seven hundred other millennials through Facebook alone. If you only surround yourself with older generations, you won’t be as reputable in the millennial space.
4. Understand the impact of millennials by consulting. Even if you’re a millennial, you associate with other millennials and have conducted research, you still need first hand experience working with institutions. To really understand millennials struggles in the workplace, you have to do consulting at companies. This way, you can identify what millennials want, what they don’t want and how to company should evolve to better engage with them.
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