Did You Know a Nod Can Be Gender Biased?

Well, when I say gender biased, I mean that it conveys a different meaning when the nod comes from a man or from a woman.

There are a lot of differences in communication between men and women, yet, broadly speaking, business communication, and ‘rewarded’ styles of communication have evolved from men’s style of speaking. We women were not around to be influential. There is a fascinating book, pictured above, from John F Locke, who says men are taught to duel and women to duet. It’s also interesting because most books on communication styles are written by women (Deborah Tannen, Abby Kaplan, Mary Talbot, to name a few); obviously we have a vested interest in changing the status quo.

We women have definitely been at a disadvantage if our talk is seen as being of less than value than men’s because we don’t imitate theirs. Unfortunately, the research seems to suggest that it is still the case with studies showing men believe women talk too much, and, err, also showing that women believe women talk too much. The reality is that at work men actually talk a bit more, just a little. But that says something quite powerful about how we are socialised to perceive women’s talk. As the wonderful Mary Beard says:

We have not yet learned to hear authority in women’s voices

It’s long been a topic of fascination to me, working with women as I do to promote confidence and, on the side, tackle inequality. There is quite frankly, a lot of rubbish out there, from both camps. Which is why I put together a couple of seminars on communication styles based on proper research, not anecdotes. These are aimed at professional women ( I do deliver to mixed groups, too, but not on this occasion) and are in a no way a jibe at men. Neither are they about patronising women or teaching them to behave like men. I will talk for roughly an hour in an amusing and engaging way (let’s hope!) about some of the research out there and then, after a break for a cup of something, there is an opportunity to discuss in small groups what impact, if any, this has for you and your career progression. Does it mean we should change our style, try and talk like men, or does it mean we should educate all our workforce? Or will the issue disappear when more women are in positions of power in the workforce and creating new norms? How can we get out points across without getting the labels of shrill, bossy, etcetera, (see infographic below on how often women are criticised in appraisals). I have a second seminar which will discuss that in greater depth but I’ve split them up, as a two hour slot is usually easy for a busy professional to attend. You can just come to one though, they are stand alone. (Happy to come in and talk to a whole workforce if requested!) However, if you do book both communication seminars at the same time you get a one hour telephone coaching session from me included, too. You’ll leave with some very useful information and having had an opportunity to reflect on your own style of communication.

Here are the details. Do try and come, I’d love to see you and I think we’ll have some very interesting discussions. Please do share with any colleagues you think might find it interesting, too. Thank you.

The first one is on March 6th and is called Understanding Menglish (or communication differences between men and women). Details are here.

The second is on April 17th and is called Women, Be Yourself AND Communicate Effectively. Details are here.

Via Fortune.com


Posted on February 8th, 2018 by

Jane's Book

Paperback or Electronic copy

Free Updates
Simply fill in your details below to get regular updates in your in box. Your details will not be shared – ever.

Connect with me
facebook twitter google+ linkedin RSS