To best present your work to colleagues, good communication at work requires planning and thinking about the information you share. In a Mihaylo College Center for Leadership video, Management Professor Goli Sadri mentions three valuable tips, especially for women, when communicating at work to make your conversations more effective:
Know your Linguistic Style
“Linguistic style” is the way we each communicate, and it includes stories, word choice and directness. Men and women have different linguistic styles: Women tend to say “sorry that happened” more often than men when addressing a group mistake, which Sadri explains as “a potential problem is that people who frequently apologize come across as weaker, less confident, and more to blame than people who don’t.” She suggests being more aware of the words you use and the impact they may have.
Be More Direct
Many women tend to soften the message when delivering a task to a colleague – for example, Sadri explains, “women might say ‘maybe you can finish the report by Thursday’ instead of ‘finish the report by Thursday’” So, being more direct when assigning a duty, such as “the report needs to be finished by Thursday,” will eliminate the indirect approach and lead to fewer misunderstandings.
Own Your Ideas
Sadri mentions “women are sensitive to the social dynamics and say ‘we,’ while men are more sensitive to power dynamics and say ‘I.’” These differences become a problem because a woman may not get full credit for her accomplishments by utilizing “we” instead of “I.”
These communication tips take some time to implement. Do not feel that you should jump in and use all of these suggestions immediately, but thinking about them and understanding how they can help improve the clarity and directness of your speech at work will help you as you move forward in your career.