The Communication Conflict
I can remember sitting in one of my Communication classes listening to a movie drone on about the different communication styles between men and women…and then I got offended. It said that women’s communication style was the reason men do not take women seriously in the workplace. Say whaaaat? Apparently sending fluffy emails laced with exclamation points and smiley faces and caring about coworkers’ feelings are taboo in the workplace. OMG! Rude!
Besides writing concise emails, men also typically make decisions confidently without asking the other person’s opinion. For example, a man would likely say, “We are going to start this new program and charge $x for it”; a woman would likely say, “I think we should start this new program and charge $x for it. What do you guys think?” I hate to say it’s true but it’s SO true. Next time you’re in a meeting, listen to the conversation between men and women. This very conversation took place at work last week and I cringed when a female coworker said, “What do you think?”
Unfortunately, this is a double edged sword because when women act like men, they are often seen as overbearing and controlling, among other (not so nice) things. So what are we supposed to do? Our options appear to be slim to none.
I, personally, try to find the happy medium. I keep my work emails concise and frank with minimal smiley faces and exclamation points. Let’s be honest, I rarely read an entire email when it looks like a novel. If I don’t like to read it, why would anyone else? If you absolutely cannot stand to be curt, I think it is okay to say “Hope you’re doing well” or something along those lines. Keep it brief.
I also try not to say, “What do you guys think?” or anything similar to this. Believe me, if they don’t like it, they will let you know. That being said, being nice and considerate will also take you far in the workplace and in life in general.
So just find the right combination that works for you but remember who your audience is and how you want to be perceived!
Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/hebergersite/3630587687/sizes/m/