Communication is challenging, especially for women in the workplace. This is according to expert Dr. Louann Brizendine, the author of the book The Female Brain. She should know because she has studied the neurobiological differences between working men and women, and determined women face six unique communication challenges, but these challenges aren’t impossible to overcome. In fact, when women are able to face these difficulties head-on, they’re much more likely to “expand their leadership capacity and reach their highest potential.”
Here’s the six communication challenges women face:
1. Women are reluctant to take credit for what they’ve accomplished.
2. Women take things personally, and experience deep emotions in regards to situations.
3. Women rarely negotiate for what they want/deserve.
4. Women rarely challenge the status quo or the powers that be.
5. Women rarely strive to find sponsors or mentorship within the company (these individuals can help elevate positions).
6. Women are often more vulnerable and self-critical in the workplace, which projects a lack of self-confidence.
So, what can you do to overcome these communication challenges? The answer is simple: You must learn to communicate more effectively, and channel your inner-strength to build confident relationships.
Communicating with Co-workers
Women aren’t alone in their inability to effectively communicate with their coworkers; men struggle with this too. Unfortunately, poor working relationships can create problems in the workplace, and is sometimes the reason for mistakes. If there’s a misunderstanding between coworkers, women are encouraged to not take it personally; instead, put emotions aside and consider the problem objectively.
Communication issues with co-workers are solved when the office is setup to promote healthy communication. If one isn’t already installed, ask your boss to consider the benefits of a business phone system that is capable of reaching inside lines, so co-workers are just a phone call away. Use systems, such as this, to build teamwork through conference calls and individual conversations that cover every aspect of a working order.
Communicating with Clients
Effective and successful communication with customers and clients is paramount to a businesses’ success. Women are encouraged to upsell their customers, and to be confident in their communications with customers. Then, when you’ve had a successful sale or meeting, don’t hesitate to let your boss know. Take credit for what you’ve accomplished.
Unfortunately, poor communication with managers may make customer communication difficult. If you don’t fully understand an assignment or work practice, you may lose out on a valuable sale. Such misunderstandings generate customer dissatisfaction, so manager-employee communication is an essential component of customer-employee communication. If you find that something is wrong with a current policy, don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo and speak up about it.
Communication with Management
Women should never forget the fruitful and positive impact of effective communication with upper-management, executives, and other higher-ups. Monopolize your time with these individuals, be cut-throat, and ask for the things you most desire (raises, promotions, etc.). It’s what men do, and it totally works.
(A study published by the Harvard Business Review determined that only 7 percent of working women negotiate for first salaries, compared to 57 percent of men.)
When communicating with anyone, it’s essential that you are clear with your intentions. Be clear about the status of your transactions, and disclose any necessary information with confidence and poise. And, choose to communicate most with people who are generally uplifting and respectful to you and in regards to your gender.