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The gender gap

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The gender gap

Since time began men and women simply have not understood each other. We are motivated by different things and have quite different needs. It's got nothing to do with whether or not we are 'equal' - we simply communicate in different ways.With so many women now in senior positions and running successful companies the need to understand the gender differences in business communication has become essential - for both men and women.While a host of popular books in recent times have helped us to understand each other in personal relationships, very little has been written to distinguish the differences in business circles.Discussing the issue over dinner recently it was interesting to hear some of the frustrations expressed by CEO's about their senior female executives.The managing director of a large food importer was complaining that his senior women have a tendency to come into his office, 'dump' all their problems and leave. Frustrated he says - "I pay them to solve problems, not give them back to me".This is a typical example of the different way men and women operate. The woman is simply discussing the issues with him. She knows she needs to find the answers but talking about it helps her work out the solutions.Meanwhile he has moved straight into solution mode. "Once I'm told about a problem I have to solve it". The result is he's feeling frustrated because he now thinks he's got to do her job. She's feeling frustrated because she thinks he is taking away her responsibility.Status vs RelationshipSo what are the differences? Generally speaking (and of course there are always exceptions) men use language to preserve their independence and maintain their position in the group; women use language to create connection and intimacy.Next time you are in a mixed business meeting notice the dynamics.Basically there seems to be two styles. The Information Style and the Relationship Style.The Information Style is often, but not always, associated with men. Talk is primarily a means to preserve independence and negotiate and maintain status.The Relationship ...

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