Do you hear yourself saying
“I’m sorry but can I just ask”
“I may be being daft but I wonder if I could”Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)
“It may just be me but I dont understand what your saying”
These are some of the phrases I hear and other researchers into female communication in the business world say women use in communicating which could be holding them back when it comes to breaking through the glass ceiling.
Back in 1990 sociolinguist Deborah Tannen, who has written a book called You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, showed in her research that the differences between the communication styles of men and women go far beyond mere socialization, and appear to be inherent in the basic make up of each sex.
Tannen observed that,
“For males, conversation is the way you negotiate your status in the group and keep people from pushing you around; you use talk to preserve your independence. Females, on the other hand, use conversation to negotiate closeness and intimacy; talk is the essence of intimacy, so being best friends means sitting and talking. For boys, activities, doing things together, are central. Just sitting and talking is not an essential part of friendship. They’re friends with the boys they do things with.”
Linguistics expert Dr Judith Baxter, who undertook an 18-month study into the speaking patterns of men and women at meetings in seven major well-known companies, including two in the FTSE-100 has just published her findings. She say’s women are held back from reaching the very highest levels in business because of the difficulties they find in striking the right tone of language during high pressure meetings. Going on to say that women were four times more likely than men to be self-deprecating, use humour and speak indirectly or apologetically when broaching difficult subjects with board members in order to avoid conflict. And it doesn’t always work.
Dr Baxter gave examples such as beginning comments with phrases such as “I am probably speaking out of turn, but…” and “Sorry to cut across you like that but…” When employed effectively, this kind of language could be a useful tool to manipulate those around them, she claimed, but self-deprecation and an apologetic style were risky because striking a wrong note could lead to appearing defensive and weak.
Do we need to alter our communication style as women to that which men feel more comforatble with or should men appreciate that women’s communication styles while different to are no less worthy of note find more information.
I will be doing some more research around women’s commuciation styles soon and will let you know some more about what I find. In the meantime please do let me know about your experiences of communciation styles