She Said What?

“I got this. I understand it the best.”
“Wow, you look fabulous with your new haircut!”
“With looks like that, who needs a resume?”

I’m sure at least once a week you hear something that raises your eyebrows and makes you wonder what the person really meant by the comment. Cross-gender communication is even more challenging. All the way to the psyche, men and women are different. This week we had Amanda Johns Vaden, gender differences expert, on the show to help us improve our communication in the work place. 

Every time we approach a conversation, we have a set expectation of what the outcome will be and how we will reach that outcome. The challenge is, men and women’s “how” is usually vastly different. This leads to a lot of hurt feelings and resentment, especially when we bottle up our assumptions about the person’s intentions and don’t address it.

When faced with communicating with the opposite sex, here are a few tips:

When in doubt, ask. Our biggest mistake in communicating is that when we are offended by a comment or something rubs us the wrong way, we tend to overlook it. Instead, take the person aside and ask. Using a non-accusatory approach, try to get to the true meaning of what they were saying: “When I heard you say you’ve got this because you understood it the best, I felt like you were implying the rest of us weren’t capable.” When you use “I” statements and talk about your feelings, it breaks down barriers towards conflict-resolution.

Be prepared. When you work with people day in and day out, you tend to notice trends. If you find someone is continually making what you deem as snide remarks towards you, come prepared. Think of ways you can address it on the spot with humor or an intelligent but non-aggressive response.

Come with understanding. If you approach conversations with the opposite sex understanding they don’t view things through the same lens, that will automatically help you be more sensitive in your communication. Awareness is the first step in being able to adjust your behavior.

Jana Axline is Chief Project Officer at Project Genetics and the author of Becoming You. Through her leadership musings, she inspires audiences to grow as leaders and ultimately achieve who they were created to be. For more information visit Project Genetics.

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