Individuals who grow up at the same time are a generation and often share many of the same experiences as others of the same age group. They exhibit a set of shared values, beliefs, and attitudes that are important to consider when preparing a speech.
When you speak to an audience with members of different ages, you are likely to experience a generation gap.
As new generations seek to define themselves as something apart from the old, they adopt new lingo and slang, allowing a generation to create a sense of division from the previous one.
It is important to become aware of one's own biases in order to avoid ageism in your speeches.
The use of handheld communications technology has created a wide gap between older and younger generations.
Age is an Important Audience Characteristic
Age is an important variable to consider when analyzing your target audience. Individuals who grow up at the same time are called cultural generations. They often share many of the same experiences as others of the same age group. An outcome of a cultural generation is a set of shared values, beliefs, and attitudes that are important to consider when preparing a speech. All four of the women in the figure are from different generations and will have had different experiences. Of which generation do you think they are a member? To which generation do you belong?
Baby, Mother, Grandmother and Great-Grandmother
Each of these four generations has a different set of values, beliefs, and attitudes.
Consider the generations living today and some of their associated characteristics:
Generation Gaps and Trends
When you speak to an audience with members of different ages, you are likely to experience a generation gap. Each generation sets its own trends and has its own cultural impact.
Source: Source: Boundless. “Age.” Public Speaking. Boundless, 26 May. 2016. Retrieved 27 Oct. 2016 from https://www.boundless.com/users/483275/textbooks/public-speaking-0f5d9d6f-0c83-4aba-883c-58ac2df122eb/unit-1-342/perform-formal-and-informal-audience-analysis-develop-audience-awareness-423/age-428-4207/
cohorts of people who were born in the same date range and share similar cultural experience
ageism, or age discrimination is stereotyping and discriminating against individuals or groups because of their age. It is a set of beliefs, attitudes, norms, and values used to justify age based prejudice, discrimination, and subordination