Gender, generation, and navigating gaps

Here are some surprising facts that will astound and amaze you:

  • Women and men communicate differently
  • 20-year olds and 60-year olds communicate differently
  • Managers and employees communicate differently

Totally blows you away, right?

Yes, people are different, but you know that. You also know that business people encounter challenges every day regarding which words to choose and which communication tools to use to reach different people.

Call or text? Email or face-to-face? Tweet or write a letter? Okay, that last option might be a stretch these days, but it does actually still happen occasionally!

Generational differences are a huge concern in today?s workplace. Why? Hasn?t there been a new generation every 18 years or so? The difference now is tremendous. Millennials and the incoming group, Generation Z, have lived in a virtual world most of their lives. They see the world ? and the workplace ? differently than their parents and even some of their older brothers and sisters.

Different is not bad. It?s just . . . different.

Women have been taught to communicate differently than men ? in general. There are women who are shy and who are not able to network effectively or speak to large groups because of their fear. Women ? in general ? have grown up in a man?s world of business. They are still learning how to be assertive without being aggressive and learning how to get their message across to those who need to hear it.

Managers and their employees tend to have different viewpoints on when, where, and how communication needs to take place. If not corrected, these differing viewpoints and the lack of communication or the miscommunication that ensues can cause tremendous issues in the workplace. Employee morale declines, mistakes are made, and sometimes clients are lost in the process.

Note that these are generalities. There are plenty of exceptions. What to do if these generalities apply to you or your workplace?

Learn how to navigate the gaps, to communicate across genders, across generations, and across the hall.

Here?s another amazing fact: everyone in the workplace is different, regardless of age, gender, or employment status. The key to successful communication is to understand the other person. Take the time to learn what will work best in terms of words, body language, and communication tools.

As for that fear of networking or public speaking? Do NOT picture anyone naked. That will only make it worse!!! There are ways to gain confidence in your communication skills that will enable you to reach the right person with the right message at the right time.

Training, for you and for your team, should focus on developing the skills to interact with others, on understanding the recipient of your message, and on learning how to convey the message effectively. Working with different people in the workplace is an integral part of the business life. Communicating well with different people can happen, if you know how to navigate the gaps.


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