By 'Liz Lewis
During the course of my 10 week internship I’ve observed how people have interacted with me not only as an intern but also as a woman. At my previous workplace, I was the go to gal, when there was a problem, I’d be vocal enough to get it fixed, unlike many of my Japanese counterparts. I began to think that I was good at communicating. I decided it was best to be direct, to the point and clear. After all, it’s hard enough to communicate in a second language so why waste time being ambiguous or subtle.
|'Liz Lewis ( MBA Class of 2015, Corporate Innovation & Management Major)|
Having not worked in an American workplace in more than a decade, as well as being an intern, I wanted to take a step back, see how things were done in my new environment. I’ll admit I was a little disappointed. I began to do a little research into the topic of how women communicate in the American workplace and came across this article - How a Woman Can Improve Gender Workplace CommunicationI watched and interacted with many of the women and men in my workplace and found a lot of what she said to be true. Do you agree? The question also came to mind of why should it be a woman’s responsibility to adjust to the men’s norms?
What I found more interesting, after some reflection, is that many of my fellow female classmates already follow many of the suggestions made in the article, but that many of my current colleagues do not. So how do we, as professional women, encourage other women in our workplace to better communicate, not only with our male colleagues but also with each other?
Over the last few weeks, more and more questions began popping up. Do we use this knowledge when we are networking or when we are interviewing? Should we approach male interviewers differently than we approach female interviewers? And the list goes on and on.
I’d love to hear about your experience with communicating in the workplace. Leave a comment and let’s get an open discussion going on this topic.