Women have worked hard for decades to prove their abilities and equality with men in the workplace. We, as women, need to put more effort into both our spoken and written communication skills to make sure they are powerful, and that they are a positive reflection of our talents and skills.
I recently attended SkillPath’s Conference for Women where we learned some tips on communicating with power and professionalism. We were encouraged to evaluate how we come across to others. What are our facial expressions saying? What does our voicemail greeting sound like? Are we easily approachable? Do we expect others to read our minds or think the same way we do?
In one of the sessions we learned about the 4 different types of personalities in the workplace – Focuser (self-starter), Relator (enthusiastic), Integrator (finisher) and Operator (detailer) and then learned more about how those personalities work together. What personality types do you work with? Do you work with “difficult” people who ruin your day? Is it really them who are causing you to have a bad day or is it the way you perceive them that is ruining your day? If you are having trouble working with another employee, could it possibly be a difference in personality or a difference in beliefs and values? Only about 3% of people are truly difficult. Ask yourself, “Is this person truly difficult or only difficult for me?”
The way we were raised also contributes to our behavior. I was raised in a generation where we were taught to respect authority. Children were to be seen; not heard. We knew we would be disciplined if we acted up or made too much noise in public. Sharon Parry, one of the speakers, recalls her childhood. “As long as I did my homework after school, got A’s on my report card, washed the dishes when I was told and didn’t talk back to my daddy, I did alright.” Times have changed. More recent generations are more vocal. They stand up for themselves. How does it effect our work environment when people from different generations work together in an office?
When speaking, develop your own style. Prepare what you are going to say and then deliver your message in a way that is comfortable for you. Believe in your message. When you are passionate about it, you will inspire others. Make sure to use correct grammar, speak with conciseness and clarity, and be aware of your voice tone, pitch and speed. Have good posture, appropriate eye contact, open position (no crossed arms) and open facial expressions.
Women often try to be people pleasers. Due to the way our society has stereotyped women in history, many women are non-confrontational. Some fears that keep women from confronting others, whether at work or in their personal lives, are fear of injury, failure, hurting others’ feelings, rejection and financial loss.
I went to several sessions within a day’s time so these are only a few tidbits of information I learned. If you would like to know more, visit SkillPath’s website.