Why Civic Leaders Struggle to Engage Millennials

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Why Civic Leaders Struggle to Engage Millennials

There was a time when a few TV channels, a couple of newspapers, and the right packaging could get an elected official’s message out to the audience. Those days are over. With the rise of the Millennial generation, we are seeing an intelligent and sophisticated younger generation which lives in a media soup.

For a civic leader, reaching these people with your message is a challenge… or it can be an incredible opportunity to connect on a fundamental level unknown in recent generations.

Elected officials need to toss out the old books on press releases and canned speeches. Those don’t fly in an age where every young person can be the hub of their personal media empire.

Crucial to getting that message to the audience are two things. First, keep it local. Make sure it matters to these people and their lives. Second and no less important, be authentic and transparent. This new generation has no patience with phonies and can spot one from a mile away.

Our civic leaders can use this local focus as an opportunity to connect with these people, and do so on their terms. Younger people are less impressed with celebrity, so that means connecting on a level of transparency and authenticity.

This generation is familiar with all the competition for its attention, and has become very good at cutting through the clutter. The old habits of hand-shakes and canned sound won’t cut it with this generation.

Millennials have been saturated by media like none before. Young people have learned to navigate those waters with a practiced ease. The way to reach them is to be local, to be in touch with what affects them… and to be the ‘real deal.’

Learn more about connecting with Generation Y by viewing the following presentation, first presented by Vice President Ryan Cohn at the Florida League of Mayors’ Millennial Summit on February 28, 2014:

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