I am, frankly, terrified to write today’s post.
If you are a woman, I need your help.
My upcoming book is full of advice about how to communicate in a clear, bold, and powerful way in the workplace. But my editor posed a question that I need to address: how are these challenges different for women?
I don’t know. I’ve never been a woman. And to be as honest as I can be about it, I tend to bull ahead, heedless of consequences, and as a result, I don’t always notice the experience of the people around me. In fact, although I respect and have been impressed with the skills of many women I’ve worked with, I’m sure that my own attitudes have contributed to the challenges they have faced.
Today, I’m interested in the answers to these questions from the women who read my blog, especially if you can answer from your personal experience:
- How do people in the workplace react differently to emails, reports, or other work-related content if it comes from a woman, compared to coming from a man?
- How do these challenges differ for in-person vs. written communications? (For example, some women are more likely to engage in up-talking, which makes them appear less certain.)
- What types of experiences do women have in school, college, and at work that can get in the way of presenting their points of view clearly?
- What advantages do women have in communicating, both in writing and in print?
The reason that I am terrified is that I would prefer to be gender-neutral and give the same advice to everyone. And I react with horror to generalizations about women in the workplace, because in my experience women are people, and people are diverse.
Still, I want to give good advice and will not ignore the challenges. So please educate me. Add a comment here to create what I hope will be a lively conversation, or email me your thoughts privately at josh at bernoff dotcom.
I look forward to hearing from you.