BackDispatcher Toolkits

Bridging the Caller Generation Gap

Bridging the Caller Generation Gap

Introduction

A few weeks ago, my son needed to contact a family friend for a school assignment. He told me that he had texted the interviewee several times with minimal response. After listening to his frustration, I finally asked if he’d called the friend. Unsurprisingly, he said, “No, he needs to get with the times.”

It was a not-so-serious reminder of something that dispatchers often learn the hard way: communication between generations is challenging. Exponential technological growth compounded by vast gaps in cultural upbringing have produced generations that, despite only a decade or so of separation, communicate in entirely different ways.

By attempting to understand the communication preferences of other generations, communication can become more straightforward and less frustrating. While a preference for texting or calling isn’t the only signifier of generational communication gaps, it is exemplary of how much a few years can drive a wedge into a conversation.

For 911 dispatchers, communication issues can be the difference between life and death for thousands of people over the course of a year. Identifying generations, understanding what makes them unique, and recognizing their preferred manner of communication is a crucial but under appreciated aspect of being a 911 dispatcher.

In this toolkit, I will walk you through:

  • The six most recent generations;
  • Their communication styles;
  • How you can apply this knowledge immediately in your dispatch center.

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