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Gender Communication Differences

By Sharlene Holland



Outline
I. Introduction

II. History/Background: Male and Female Communication
a. The many different forms and perceptions of communication.
b. Women are stereotyped to “flighty or off-track communicators” (Zielinski 1). Both in the workplace and in daily communication, women are stereotyped to explaining or presenting a solution in a non direct manner.

III. Men communication in the workplace or professional environment
a. Men are more direct
b. Men to man communication (how and why they communicate that way)
c. Men to women communication (how and why they communicate that way)

IV. Women communication in the workplace or professional environment
a. Women are both overly aggressive, and passive communicators in the workplace or professional environment
b. Women to women communication (how and why they communicate that way)
c. Women to man communications (how and why they communicate that way)

V. Causes of men and women communication differences
a. Gender inequalities in the workplace

VI. Conclusion


Many stereotypes of how man and woman communicate are always up for debate. In some situations it may seem like men and women are from different worlds. Many people believe that women are flighty communicators and that men leave out important details. In different settings, like all stereotypes, some are these statements are true and hold some valid weight. Debarah Tannen, who studies communication differences, has discussed these differences. Many others have studied differences of gender communication in the workplace. They have found these stereotypes have some truth and false to them. Like most things, communication is black and white there is some gray area. Women and women communication is surprisingly more complex than man to man communication.

There are many different forms and perceptions of communication. Someone’s appearance, body language, and gestures are forms that can be perceived very differently depending on the gender of the communicator. Dave Zielinski stated in “What Men and Women Can Learn From Each Other”, from when we were young children, our minds and behaviors were conditioned and trained to certain gendered stereotypes thus affecting communication styles. Women are stereotyped to “flighty or off-track communicators” (Zielinski 1). Both in the workplace and in daily communication, women are stereotyped to explaining or presenting a solution in a non direct manner. They are associated with being too talkative and easily distracted from the main subject at hand. Men are stereotyped to be insensitive and direct communicators leaving about “unnecessary” details. Although some of the differences between genders are learned behaviors, most experts in communication believe that these stereotypes have some truth and history about them. Millions of years ago Women were the gatherers and would socialize and talk with no restraint as they gathered fruit and other foods. Men were the hunters on a daily basis. Hunters have to be quiet and focused on their prey in order to do their job well. Habits that are trained in our brain, takes more effort to overcome.

Men’s communication in the workplace or professional environment is different than how woman communicate one major way. Men are more direct. Generally, men tend to communicate differently, depending on the gender. According to Overall men communicate direct and straight to the point. Some have argued that men are less descriptive and leave out important detail. Most men communicate with one another more efficiently that with communicating with women because men both don’t pay attention to extra details therefore, messages are communicated without any deter. Sandi Mann suggests in “Expectations of Emotional Display in the Work Place” that in the work place, men show little to no emotion when on the job or giving orders to either gender.

Women communicate in the workplace very differently than men. In some cases, women are both overly aggressive, and in other cases women are passive communicators in the workplace or professional environment. Women to women communication in most cases are passive. For example woman supervisors tend to propose other women to perform as task opposed to demanding or ordering. For example, a woman might say “Let’s go ahead and get this finished by Friday” or “Let’s not talk on our cell phones on the floor” (Tannon 1). This is caused be women being more relational beings. In the video, “The Power Dead Even Rule of Differences” by the Heim Group, the speaker discussing a power hierarchy in the workplace in relation to gender. Women who are in managing or supervisor positions above other women sometimes have to compliment another women on job performance, clothes, or ask about family prior to asking for a task to be done. This puts the female supervisor on the same level with the employee, thus making it more comfortable for the female employee to receive the order or “proposal”. This can become very complex and draining one can imagine. Women to men communications in most cases, the woman are more aggressive or assertive role. Some women feel the need to overcompensate for the fact that she is a woman in a man’s playing field. Women are the minority, increases women’s drive to succeed and gain respect of both genders. This causes women to communicate more aggressively and direct to men in the workplace.

Overall men and woman are faced with different gender inequalities the work place. Although the numbers of women in leadership positions are growing, women were and still are the minority. In conclusion, many have studied the differences of gender communication in the workplace. They have found that these stereotypes have some truth and false to them. Like most things, communication is black and white there is some gray area. Women and women communication is surprisingly more complex than man to man communication.


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Sources

Glass. Jenifer. The Time Divide: Work, Family and Gender Inequality. Jerry A. Jacobs and Kathleen Gerson. Video recording. Pacific Palisades, CA : Heim Group
; An American/British comparative study

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Tannen, Deborah. Deborah Tannon. Can't We Talk?" (condensed from: You Just Don't Understand). 2009. Apr.http://raysweb.net/poems/articles/tannen.html>.