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Communication Differences Between Men And Women In The Workplace

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Communication Differences between

Men and Women in the Work Place

Introduction

Men and women will never be the same when it comes to both emotional and physical aspects. So, why is it that people are surprised when men and women have trouble communicating? God gave Eve to Adam for companionship. Their differences are what make them a complete pair.

Most everyone in today's society is familiar with the book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. The author, John Gray, has written many books about the differences men and women face during everyday life. The book, Mars and Venus in the Workplace, is the ninth book in his Mars/Venus theme that he began writing in 1993. In this book, Grey informs his audience that men and women communicate with different styles. Grey also acknowledges that there is prejudice against women in the workplace; they have to work twice as hard because it is not a level playing field.

Women in the Workplace

Men have dominated the workforce for most of civilization up until their patriotic duties called away to war. All of a sudden, the women were responsible for providing for their family while the men were away. Women went to work all over America to earn an income to insure their family's survival. Women took all sorts of jobs including assembly line positions, office jobs, and even playing professional baseball. When the men returned home from war, the women were expected to resume their place as housewives. The women who had gotten a taste of the professional life decided that they wanted to continue working. Thus, the introduction to women in a man's working environment began. Women were not taken seriously at first, because they were stepping into a "man's world".

Since men and women work closely in the workplace today, there are many complaints addressing the differences in the genders. Simma Lieberman addresses these differences in her article, "Better Communication Between Men and Women in the Workplace: Some Useful Tips". Men tend to think that women take things too seriously, are slow in getting down to business, and try to be "one of the boys". A complaint that women give about men is that they are being labeled names such as: "girls", "honey", and "darlin". Other complaints are that men make women into objects, making decisions about work with other men and not including the women, and using expressions that only use sports, violence or sexual connotations such as "More bang for the buck".

When women and men work together to address these issues, they can each bring unique strengths to the team. The strengths that men possess are that they are goal oriented, good at problem solving, and are responsive to challenges. Women's strengths are that they are detail oriented, good at teamwork and collaboration, and they bring a balance of harmony and nurturance, serenity, creativity and vision to the team. When all these elements are combined, it makes the team stronger and more able to accomplish goals.

Women as Supervisors

In society today, women are taking on equal or higher ranking positions than men. Women tend to emphasize equality when communicating with coworkers and those that they supervise. When a female supervisor tries to befriend a male subordinate, she tends to lose valuable supervisory power. She may find that the men she supervises do not listen, listen to another male supervisor instead, or even give up on her orders. Another mistake that a female supervisor can make is by not establishing a "pecking order". By failing to do this, the man is likely to try and "take over" her position. A conflict will then occur as to whom is actually in charge. According to Gary Vikesland, author of "Communication 101", women who find their power in criticizing the man's work and not the man, who assumes the role as the expert, and accepts negative feedback and communication from the workers are following the "coaching style" to determine the "pecking order".

Common Misconceptions between Men and Women

In her article, "Gender Differences in Business Communications", Kathleen Spring tells the story of Kirstin Carey, a young businesswoman who developed her own marketing and communications company after realizing the need for guidance within gender communications. Kirstin Carey, owner of Small Talk Marketing and Communications Inc., finds communication to be the most fascinating part of business. Carey started writing and speaking on marketing communications topics in 1998. She believes that the most problematic disparity in listening styles occurs in one-to-one business conversations with no distractions. When a man and a woman carry on a conversation, the woman relies heavily on non-verbal cues. Men think that it is polite to remain silent as they listen. Women perceive this as a disinterest in what they are saying, so they clam up. The man believes that the woman has stopped adding to the conversation because of their brilliant, insightful comments, and talk all the more. The woman has decided that the man is rude. Carey states that is an example of how different the conversational styles of men and women can be.

When doing a presentation to women on how to better communicate in the business world, Kirstin Carey provides the following advice to women:

Stand up. "Whoever's head is higher has the most power." If an employee comes in to complain, you should ask them to sit or stand up yourself to keep from feeling belittled.

Speak in bullet points. Stating the agenda at the beginning of the meeting gives the audience an idea of how long the meeting will be and it keeps them from looking at their watch.

Use analogies. Men are good at using analogies. They compare information in their

speeches to sports. Women should also use analogies so that their audience will remember more points from their speech.

Root out "feeling words". Women tend to say, "I think" or "I believe" when beginning a sentence. Instead, you should state, "This product will do well for you". It implies confidence.

Say "No". Women have a tendency to not say no for fear of hurting someone's feelings. Women take on more than they can handle and it creates an inability to finish their work effectively and efficiently.

Don't turn sentences

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