We talk to Sam Jones, Millennial and Gen Z speaker.

24th Jun 2023

Sam Jones, Millennial and Gen Z speaker chats with Jane Farnham, Director of Great British Speakers.

We talk to millennial & Gen Z speaker Sam Jones about how he combines his unique tools with his years of experience to coach the UK’s brightest public figures and influencers.

Sam Jones, an esteemed Gen Z speaker, leverages his distinct methodologies and extensive experience to coach the brightest public figures and influencers in the UK. His aim is to foster increased productivity, enhanced performances, and improved wellbeing among young people.

Sam delves into the pervasive culture of instant-access information through our phones and devices, shedding light on its profound impact on our psychology. He also explores how the fast-paced nature of the world can influence our thoughts and emotions.

With his unique insights and expertise, Sam Jones empowers individuals to navigate the challenges posed by the digital age and embrace strategies for personal growth and success.

Contact Great British Speakers today to book Gen Z speaker Sam Jones for your next event.

Here’s the full transcript of Millennial and Gen Z speaker Sam Jones‘ chat with Jane Farnham of Great British Speakers:

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00:00:07:28 – 00:00:18:23
Jane Farnham
Hi, I’m Jane Farnham from Great British Speakers, and I’m here today chatting to the mentor, entrepreneur, life coach and Gen Z speaker Sam Jones. He’s a very busy man. Hi, Sam. Thanks for joining us today.

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00:00:19:08 – 00:00:19:44

Sam Jones

Thanks for having me Jane.

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00:00:20:30 – 00:00:44:40
Jane Farnham
Oh, you’re welcome. Now, as a quick introduction, Sam specializes in millennials and Gen Z employees in the workplace, covering a range of highly relevant subjects such as confidence, leadership, and mental health. So before we get on to keynote speaking, Sam, just tell me a little bit about your earlier life and background. We know that we’re both from Cardiff. That was a lovely surprise. So tell me a little bit about growing up there.

00:00:45:28 – 00:01:04:26

Sam Jones

Yeah, it was a really good upbringing. Like I come from, like a nice middle class, normal, typical background, really had a great upbringing. Came over to London, where I’m at now in my early twenties and knew I wanted to do something a little bit outside of the ordinary. The typical career path, which is now super normal for like the millennial Gen Z generation.

00:01:05:02 – 00:01:25:19

Sam Jones

But it was way left field before I started, like my parents, like, what are you doing why aren’t you going down like a normal graduate student, those sorts of things. And yeah, I started speaking and my keynote speaking actually started not only described as keynote speaking, it was doing an event on meetup.com in front of like three or four people on top of a pub for free.

00:01:25:21 – 00:01:44:38

Sam Jones

So that’s where I sort of crafted my coaching qualifications and all those different things I did. But actually all speaking and those sorts of things started from just three events I did like those big communities of young people at about 8,000 and a group at the end and we had events of 120 of young people there that I would give free talks to.

00:01:44:54 – 00:01:48:16

Sam Jones

And it gradually grew and grew and grew. And that’s how I then stumbled into keynote speaking.

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00:01:48:52 – 00:01:52:57
Jane Farnham
So you started as a life coach and mentor prior to that?

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00:01:53:13 – 00:02:06:45

Sam Jones

Yeah, I trained for my life coach, did a lot of training. Then you start initially with your clients, then gradually, slowly but surely grew a reputation, actually been doing it ten years now and many, many, many times later. 

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00:02:07:01 – 00:02:24:48
Jane Farnham
But now we saw some figures recently which said that this was the first time we’ve had five distinct generations in the workplace simultaneously. Now what do you feel are the hazards, but also what are the opportunities for employees and the employers during this rather bizarre time?

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00:02:25:24 – 00:02:48:18

Sam Jones

Yeah, it’s it’s funny because when these like articles come out about like the five generations being that these facts, they’re often painted quite negatively, like it’s something to be feared, to be worried about and almost like a tension around it when really it’s, there’s a lot of opportunities there and it’s also never as bad as like, never as bad as like these articles immediately portray.

00:02:48:36 – 00:03:09:48

Sam Jones

It’s actually really good that the key things that happen like across generation is the from, say, millennials to Gen Xers or the cyber generation going even further back. It’s often to do with their preferences, it’s to do with their expectations and it also comes down to some core things like your values generally tend to be slightly different, but this doesn’t happen just generationally.

00:03:09:48 – 00:03:27:01

Sam Jones

This is also an age group thing. So for example, you’d have on a Thursday night in your early twenties in London. It’s most likely if you’re in your twenties you’re going to be going out for a drink after that tends to differentiate, but also differ when you get a bit older. When you say in your thirties or forties when you have other responsibilities.

00:03:27:25 – 00:03:54:50

Sam Jones

So those things are kind of normal and we’ve just got to be aware of those things. But the preferences that are different, that are really important or the values are difference are really important, is younger people typically want more meaning, they want more autonomy, they want more freedom, they want those things to happen and they want to climb the ladder really, really, really fast, which for a lot of the other generations that you’ve got to work hard, gradually get there and not everything like granted to you that can cause some clashes.

00:03:54:50 – 00:04:18:36

Sam Jones

And employees, employers need to be aware of that. And they’ve also got to see the opportunities within having five generations. That means you have five, like varying, like different values and preferences and skill sets that you can all take from each other, like mobile phones, for example. You can have your young talent really teaching and leading the way in what apps we should use, what communications are the best right now.

00:04:18:36 – 00:04:32:45

Sam Jones

Because a lot of technology we used ten years ago with mobiles and those sort of things, they’re dinosaur apps now, they’re dinosaur things that we used to use, so we can use like you know each other that employers and good leaders will will always do that. They’ll draw the best out of them.

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00:04:33:39 – 00:04:44:49
Jane Farnham
So there’s positives and negatives. I suppose it’s about communication, isn’t it? And taking the best of every generation and trying to get people all on the same page thinking the same thing itself, I suppose.

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00:04:45:18 – 00:05:07:33

Sam Jones

Yeah, and that comes down to, as always, good leaders. There’s no such bad things as like having lots of different generations working within the same team or within a wider organization. There’s nothing ever wrong with that. It’s always come down to the leaders there, the managers and understanding that and utilizing the strengths from it. As I said, there’s different preferences, different expectations, but you will have that inter generation as well.

00:05:07:33 – 00:05:27:10

Sam Jones

You have that within. I know the 20 somethings, with always when I speak at organizations, Isay it’s good to know the data, it’s good to know the general preferences of generations. And what we typically do. But there’s lots of outliers and there’s lots of differences within them. So you need good leaders to be able to recognize that and them as an individual and then manage accordingly.

00:05:27:19 – 00:05:30:36

Sam Jones

Otherwise you’re just applying things generally because you read it in an article.

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00:05:31:21 – 00:05:50:13
Jane Farnham
Sweeping generalisations never really work. I know, and obviously a few more mature people who may be watching this may think that young people should come off their phone and interact more. Do you think that’s fair and do you think mindsets are completely different between an older generation and a younger generation?

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00:05:50:57 – 00:06:27:48

Sam Jones

No, I don’t think, I don’t think it’s fair. I think there’s some truth to it. I don’t think it’s fair because everyone is using their phones because the world demands it, the working world demands it. And also socially it’s demanded. But our usage on our phones has gone up drastically even over the last few years. Okay. And then you think about lockdown and COVID, it increased even more that we become reliant on this digital thing in front of us and where it differs a little bit and where it’s quite important to the generations is like almost like I said before, how the younger generation use their phones because they’re so familiar with it, especially Gen Z, they use the

00:06:27:48 – 00:06:35:33

Sam Jones

best ways and most efficient ways to do things, but it’s happening across the whole generations. And with the other side you said the mindset of.

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00:06:35:42 – 00:06:55:08

Jane Farnham

Yeah, yeah. Do you think it’s changed though? I mean, obviously the mindsets between a more mature workforce would be different to a younger mindset. Do you think that could have some positives? I mean, how do you bring the positives out, and not become it, becomes so negative thinking that, oh my God, you know, you just thinking on completely different planes.

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00:06:55:24 – 00:07:14:42

Sam Jones

Yeah, well, a good thing in a Time magazine, a long time, a lot of magazines, every sort of new generation that comes out is released into the world. So millennials are the huge thing before, then Gen Z and then all that happens. They always have an article and that happens every few years where it’s like this generation is like the wasted generation and the worst generation.

00:07:14:42 – 00:07:33:10

Sam Jones

And look how bad it’s, it’s not a generational thing, it’s an age thing. And we’ve all got to be honest with ourselves. I look at it now, when I look at these young tiktoks and like, what are they doing all these stupid dances? Because we all look and do that. It’s we tend to look back on our generation was the best, or our time is the best, and look what these are doing, you know, all of that.

00:07:33:10 – 00:07:57:34

Sam Jones

So there’s the natural propensity to be negative about the next generations after, we got, to get rid of that. It’s just different value sets and preferences, as I said before. So the positives we’ve got to see is I try and encourage teams and companies to view people as individuals and then whoever are the leaders of that team and isn’t necessarily meet bureaucratically the leaders, but everyone’s a leader.

00:07:57:34 – 00:08:14:13

Sam Jones

Every sort of level is how they interact with people, how they communicate to the people to get the best out of each other, because you’re all working towards a common goal, whether it’s a team objective or you want to have a great working environment, whatever it might be. So you’ve always got to draw it out and it starts with the leaders within the team because there’s always something negative.

00:08:14:13 – 00:08:17:12

Sam Jones

You find out about any generational individual, you know?

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00:08:17:25 – 00:09:01:21
Jane Farnham
Yeah, I mean, essentially I, call me old school, but I tend to think it comes down to attitude. If you’ve got the right attitude, you could be a more mature employee and a younger employee, but you’ve got the right attitude to work and propensity to, you know, to work hard. Then, you know, you can all come together regardless of your generation. And really and now the last few years have been really tough. So how is the Post-Lockdown shift to working from home affecting younger people, people in general? Really, obviously we’ve got a mental health aspect to it, but do you think it’s harder on a practical level to progress your career out when you’re working from home and when you’re remote and when there’s less, less face to face interaction?

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00:09:01:55 – 00:09:26:13

Sam Jones

Yeah, it’s a really complex subject. I’ve been a lot closer to the last year and a half, two years, with either group work or my individual clients as well, the ONS, it’s like they do really good data on sort of like anxiety and life satisfaction within the community. And all of that dipped massively at the start of COVID, in the first six months of COVID dipped drastically.

00:09:26:18 – 00:09:52:28

Sam Jones

So it’s all there, and where it’s at now and from both seeing it with individuals on the ground and within groups and what the data suggests, this is now that the restrictions have gone generally and we don’t have this COVID anxiety and this unfamiliarity and uncertainty, people have adapted quite well and have really joined the freedoms of, you know, being able to work from home, being able to go to the doctors say easier, or go to the gym at lunch, a lot easier, those sorts of things.

00:09:52:44 – 00:10:19:10

Sam Jones

So that’s helping a lot more, especially for the younger generations. But subjectively, I’ve noticed it with clients from all different walks of life, all different age groups, all things like that. Where the challenge is, and I’ve had a few conversations very recently with clients is career progression now. So a lot of career, career progression is about, you know, being proactive to stand out from the crowd, being proactive, going beyond just the job.

00:10:19:21 – 00:10:35:38

Sam Jones

And a lot of people, because they’re at home, have fallen into home comforts within their work where they’re just doing what they need to do to get by, and they live their life now. Nothing wrong with that. But also, if you have any level of ambition, want to climb the ladder and those sort of things you have to go beyond the, on the way.

00:10:35:38 – 00:10:56:31

Sam Jones

You have to get in front of people. You have to communicate to human, humans that, you know, always being on Zoom, always via email. And so that’s a challenge for a lot of people right now. And one thing I’m encouraging people to do is to not lose that just because you’re working from home don’t become isolated. Don’t become an island because it’s very easy to think you’re connecting just by email and those things.

00:10:56:31 – 00:11:04:49

Sam Jones

But you need to get out there, you need to continue to do the things that allow you to, your career to grow and that requires proactivity, definitely..

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00:11:05:06 – 00:11:34:07
Jane Farnham
Okay. Now, we’ve also recently heard about the great resignation, which a few of our mature speakers have been talking about. We’ve actually seen some figures that tell us up to 30% of people handing in their notice don’t have another job to go to. So I’m interested in your perspective as a younger person chatting to people, working their way up the career ladder. On what you think about the great resignation and what are they doing when they’re handing their notice in? Just saying, well, what are their plans if they don’t have another job to go to?

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00:11:34:42 – 00:12:06:50

Sam Jones

Yeah, it’s it’s like it’s a bit of the great naivety I think with that the younger generation right, it says a few things and I was a product of this so I could really speak to this from my own personal experience and what I see with individual clients as well, there is a naivety about it’s just going to figure itself out, which can be a good thing because it takes away some of that fear or the perceived risk of not having something, things that you think about as you progress your  pensions, skill sets that are easily transferable, those sorts of things.

00:12:07:24 – 00:12:26:42

Sam Jones

But you know, that’s a good thing, even. It’s also possible that you’re not getting people stuck in something that draws away from their soul. But there’s a bit of a balance here that’s really important from a coaching perspective is, you want to encourage like me, especially when I encourage all my clients and anyone that you meet, your friends and family to follow their dreams, follow their hearts.

00:12:26:58 – 00:12:47:45

Sam Jones

But you can’t just blindly do that. And then you sort of wake up in your early thirties when you have other values in your life. So you start a family or you started a family, or you want to buy a house, which is increasingly difficult. But you haven’t got solid foundations yet. You’re instable in that area of your life financially or career wise, whatever it might be.

00:12:48:10 – 00:13:08:18

Sam Jones

So it’s important that this resignation is positive, that people are just staying. It might not be in life isn’t something that they really enjoy. But my dad went from 16 to retirement in a company. Now it’s so you only get grads in the big sort of consultancy firms that tend to do that typically and they’re well rewarded and kept within that.

00:13:08:43 – 00:13:33:52

Sam Jones

So it’s good that they’re able to try different things and move to different jobs. But you also, when you’re following your dreams of trying to fulfill something, you also have to have equally look at where’s the stability going to come from and when does this cut off, when do you stop jumping from thing to thing to thing to thing to thing because it’s not, you’re not always going to land on this incredible, perfect career that people are expecting or idolize in the younger generations.

00:13:34:12 – 00:13:45:13

Sam Jones

Perfect is not out there. It’s often about finding something to match your skills, matches your values, something that is difficult, but it’s worth the effort in order to get there, because that’s fulfillment.

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00:13:45:52 – 00:14:01:49
Jane Farnham
And yeah, that hard work. Now you’ve worked with some very large organizations like Unilever, P&G, Source News. Do you have any specific examples where you spoken, and you feel people have moved forward as a result of your involvement? Your talk?

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00:14:02:27 – 00:14:19:39

Sam Jones

Yeah, 100%. For me, it’s all about,speaking is about practical things and I also like to challenge myself. I can do life coaching in talks because it’s very easy for me to even now, look, I’m sitting here talking about these things, saying, This is what you should do, this is the way to do things is like it’s easy to do that because it’s just talk.

00:14:19:39 – 00:14:41:04

Sam Jones

I think coaching and for me what workshops would be is they should be a movement from point A, as in like we want to build more confidence in the workplace within ourselves and within the workplace. And at point B, which is now I can express myself more. Now I want to speak up in a meeting. Now I’m going to set that meeting with my boss to talk to him about my career.

00:14:41:06 – 00:15:04:18

Sam Jones

Like those things are very actionable. So yeah, I do a lot of live coaching with individuals within groups, within workshops, and it’s always got to be focused on practicalities because it’s all very well learning the theory of confidence, for example, of how confidence works. But unless you can take tools and then apply it within that 45 minutes, hour, few hours, that we’re in the keynotes of the workshop and then take it away.

00:15:04:18 – 00:15:23:07

Sam Jones

And I just, I just did work with the council a few weeks ago and we had two sessions, we had one one week and then two weeks later with the others and they had specific exercises and challenges to do and it was amazing what happened. People were like, So in that kind of mountain, same mountain, it’s like within the UK, so it’s like, it’s still pretty good.

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00:15:23:07 – 00:15:23:58
Jane Farnham
Still a hill.

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00:15:24:46 – 00:15:41:47

Sam Jones

Yeah. But it’s things, as I said, set up meetings. The boss spoke up in the meeting. So yeah, because none of this you can learn everything you can. And that’s one of the problems with the younger generations at the moment is they’ve got a lot of information out there, all the YouTube videos you can ever want to learn things.

00:15:42:18 – 00:15:57:23

Sam Jones

But the big difference in the people that really get further quicker, at least, is that they’re applying and saying. So I really take it as a challenge for me when I’m working with individuals that they’re applying stuff because otherwise it’s, you only get half the answer.

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00:15:58:10 – 00:16:19:48
Jane Farnham
And what’s the challenge to one person like, you know, climbing a mountain or, you know, is just like other people like just putting their hands up in a meeting, as you said, because some people just don’t know how to do that. They don’t have the confidence to do that. So those are real, tangible skills that people can learn. And now obviously, I can feel your passion about talking, but what gives you the biggest buzz about speaking to audiences, live audiences?

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00:16:20:49 – 00:16:44:15

Sam Jones

You know, it’s, it’s probably as I said, it’s I really like putting myself under good pressure. Like, people don’t like pressure, but I see pressure mostly as a really good thing because you tend to respond and speaking is that real raw thing where you’re in front of a group of people that often, with me at least, don’t know me? I’m sure some of you speakers like they know them straight away, but somebody said, You know me and like

00:16:44:15 – 00:16:59:20

Sam Jones

Why? Why should I listen to this individual? And I see that as a really good challenge and I get a real buzz out of that because for me, it’s then the idea of everyone is at point A like is and they want to improve something that they can’t quite do right now. How can I help move them to point B?

00:16:59:38 – 00:17:19:31

Sam Jones

And as much as you can, like with speaking, you know, you plan what your structure of what you want to teach and learn, there’s loads of different variations in that that can happen. Like someone will ask a question like it takes you on a certain direction. And that to me gives me a massive, massive buzz because most of the time you’ve got 45 minutes to an hour with people, some sometimes at the longer.

00:17:19:32 – 00:17:32:16

Sam Jones

But yeah, I really get a buzz out of that. That’s to me is what were some of like you know what people don’t want to public speak what I because they’re nervous like I love all of that I think it’s great but yeah that’s probably, that was good, I haven’t really thought about that for a while, actually.

00:17:32:16 – 00:17:34:26

Sam Jones

That’s it. That’s probably the thing.

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00:17:34:26 – 00:18:10:22
Jane Farnham
I can really feel your passion for what you do, and I’m sure that all your audience have some real key, valuable takeaways. So thank you so much for chatting to us today. It’s, it’s been absolutely lovely. And if you would like some mentoring, coaching or just a fabulous keynote speech to sort of engage your staff and give them lots of sort of positive keynote messages to take away with them, then just pick up the phone to book Gen Z speaker Sam, call myself, or Steve at Great British Speakers on 01753439289  or you can email bookings at  bookings@greatbritishtalent.com
Sam thank you so much for your time.

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00:18:10:58 – 00:18:11:29

Sam Jones

Thank you, Jane.

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Sam Jones, millennial and Gen Z speaker at Great British Speakers

Sam Jones, millennial and Gen Z speaker at Great British Speakers

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