All of us probably have one or two young’uns in our lives who roll their eyes when they see we’re stumped by technology.
The most notorious eye-rollers? Millennials. Born between 1980 and 1995, the millennial generation is becoming solidly entrenched in the workforce, and one of them may be heading up an event for a nonprofit you’re passionate about or sitting across the table from you at an interview. They may comprise the entire audience at a meet-up you’re holding to promote your new book.
So what exactly are these 20- and 30-somethings thinking about your tech smarts?
Like it or not, your reaction to technology is a factor in their opinion of your capabilities. Here are five ways to impress tech-savvy millennials.
1. Use your phone’s utilities.
Your smartphone has many built-in utilities that come in handy — and make you look resourceful.
Instead of taking out a pad of paper, open your notes app and take notes on your smartphone. If someone you meet is short on business cards, pull out your smartphone to take a picture of their card instead of taking their last one. If you encounter small print, use your smartphone camera as a magnifying glass that zooms in text so you can clearly read it.
You’ll feel like MacGyver — but don’t say it out loud, since 30-somethings likely won’t know who you’re talking about.
2. Explore social media accounts.
You probably already have a Facebook account, but if you don’t have a LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram account, set one up now. You don’t have to become a power user, but figure out how to look up people, companies and causes you’re interested in.
If you encounter something interesting, mention it when you meet a millennial. Say, for instance, “I saw that awesome photo of the new product you posted on Insta. Tell me more about it”.
3. Pay with your phone.
To really blow a millennial’s mind, pull out your smartphone and pay at the register.
If you’re an iPhone user, take some time to set up Apple Pay. It’s easy to use and really secure. Your trust in this level of technology speaks volumes.
If you’re a bit apprehensive, set up Apple Pay on an alternate checking account and give it a try. Or learn how to use your Starbucks app to pay for your coffee.
4. Don’t be amazed.
Expressing amazement at what you hear about advancements in technology is a good way to out yourself as a dinosaur. Young people today aren’t amazed by what technology can do — they’re amazed by what it can’t do.
If you encounter something new, just smile and nod. Then open the notes app on your phone and jot down what they just said so you can look it up later.
5. Don’t ask lame questions.
When you find yourself in a situation trying to increase your tech savviness, don’t ask a younger person a lame question.
Don’t mention that you can’t download the app they just recommended because you forgot your iTunes password. Just smile, nod and open your notes app to jot down the name of the app.
If you know your phone is out of storage or you’re behind on your software updates, don’t hand them your phone and ask them what’s going on.
Save those questions for friends and family, or, better yet, research and fix these issues yourself.
Use some of these tips the next time you find yourself at a meeting, party, fundraising event, or ‘80s hair band revival concert with some millennials. Strengthening your tech muscle will really pay off.
Jan Golden writes a tech column for The Huffington Post.