Way back when I started this blog, I wrote about clichés, and specifically the expression, "It's not your grandmother's [insert item here]."
Yesterday, I read this in an article: "I use the 'grandmother' rule. Put simply; present anything so that your grandmother would understand it."
And today I read this: "You can learn a lot about marketing from grandmothers. And you thought they were just great for baking cookies."
I remember both of my grandmothers as hardworking women, employed outside the home, who were physically active. Neither of them ever wore their hair in a bun or knitted a shawl. My mother's mother was still working full time shortly before her death in her 70s and I don't believe she ever baked a cookie in her life.
My grandmothers were both intelligent and savvy women, and wouldn't have had trouble understanding anything you could dish out as a speaker.
These days, grandmothers are even more savvy, educated and hip (not that there's anything wrong with the knitting, baking, nurturing-stereotype granny).
So why allow these stereotypes to persist in your writing or speaking? If I were in the room and a speaker used one of these clichés, I'd have a pretty hard time listening to anything else he said. And imagine all the grandmothers in the room who he'd be insulting.
Be careful how you stereotype people in your presentations. We're (for the most part) pretty sensitive to gender, ethnic and religious stereotypes these days, but there are some groups out there that it's still considered okay to make fun of or treat as though they're some sort of myth rather than real people.
The only thing that grandmothers all have in common is that they're women who've had children who've had children. Period.