Communication differences in the workplace

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus. It’s true hahahaha. I took a class on management communication and learned a few things. BTW, I encourage everyone to take a communications class. All executives get some sort of training, so might as well start now and perfect it over time. Now about communication differences in the workplace. I’m going to list five characteristics and you guess which one applies to men or women. Remember, these are typical traits and may not be true for every man or every woman.

1. competition vs cooperation
2. asking for help vs not asking for help
3. details vs big picture
4. rapport vs invasion
5. empathy vs solutions

Alright, here are the answers: 1) competition=men, cooperation=women, 2) asking for help=women, not asking for help=men, 3) details=women, big picture=men, 4) rapport=women, invasion=men, 5) empathy=women, solutions=men. So what does all of this means. Well, the first one is how men and women typically interact with one another. The second one is pretty straight forward. The third one is how men and women tackle issues. The fourth one is not so straight forward. Basically, women like to build rapport with others whereas men consider building rapport sometimes as being invasive. The last one is how men and women respond to hearing other people’s problems. The takeaway here is leverage the typical men and women traits when you see fit, but most importantly understand the differences.

Sophia Perl

Sophia Perl is a product manager for a database tool at IBM. She has over 10 years of software development and management experience. Sophia holds a BS in Computer Science from University of Southern California and an MBA from University of California at Davis. She is the creator of iPhone apps PicPredict and Eventabulous.

2 thoughts on “Communication differences in the workplace

  1. I often wonder whether lists like this do more harm than good. Especially ones like #3. If people come in with this preconception, then every time a woman speaks about something technical, they might think “she’s a woman, she doesn’t see the big picture” because they were taught that.

    I agree with your takeaway, if you mean something like it’s best to try very hard to read each situation and decide if it’s empathy or solutions that are required, for example. But I don’t think it’s good to assume that all men are competing or don’t want to build rapport.

  2. I’ve actually ran across men who communicate like typical women and women who communicate like typical men. It’s a toss up, but it does help in understanding that there are two groups of communication styles.

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