The word that might flash through your mind for the people in the group is geezers.
You know who I’m talking about. Some haven’t changed their hair styles since the Carter administration, and think anyone under 40 “looks like they’re 12.” You sense that they might discount your ideas–both because of your perceived lack of experience and that you’re not one of them.
But, unfortunately, being judgmental isn’t the exclusive domain of so-called geezers. You can be selling an idea, project, or a recommendation to a person from another generation or another planet, and your approach doesn’t really need to change.
The strength of your ideas can bridge gaps in age and neutralize wrong-headed, preconceived notions. For your ideas to be heard, though, you’ve got to get three things straight in your own mind.
For starters, you need to think of yourself as the peer of anyone you work with. The age, title, and accomplishments of others don’t define the value of ideas. Presumably, you’re in the room because you know something the clients don’t.
Next, keep in mind that you can’t know it all. The ideas or recommendations you pulled together yesterday or last week may need to change on the fly in the meeting.
As they say, “S**t happens,” and you won’t be privy to every detail that could impact your ideas. So keep an open mind and be willing to retool your ideas (in real-time) as new information comes your way.
Finally, remember the law of averages. In any group, there’s a strong possibility that someone isn’t going to like what you have to say. Don’t let that person make it your problem.
You don’t have to satisfy every naysayer for the entire group to understand your ideas. Let your supporters deal with nitpickers.
You’re going to run into geezers (and those who act the part), on a regular basis. It just goes with the territory. To deal with them most effectively, adjust your own mindset.