Have you noticed when you walk by the cubicles you can hear women talking freely with each other, but not so much the men.  Then you get in a staff meeting and the men are babbling like crazy and the women are hardly talking.

One of my favorite books is, You Just Don’t Understand, by Dr. Deborah Tannen, a professor of linguistics at Georgetown University.  Her research suggests that women feel more comfortable doing private speaking, while men feel more comfortable doing public speaking.  She calls this rapport talk and report talk.

Dr. Tannen has found that for most women, the language of conversation is primarily a language of rapport; a way of establishing connections and negotiating relationships.  Emphasis is placed on displaying similarities and matching experiences.

For most men, talk is primarily a means to preserve independence and negotiate and maintain status and social order.  Men do this by exhibiting knowledge and skill, and by holding center stage through verbal performance such as story telling, joking, or sharing information.

It isn’t whether women or men talk more; it is a difference in conversational style.

Women and men have different tendencies and ways of talking.  Once people realize that their coworkers have different conversational styles, we are able to accept differences without blaming.  Don’t make the mistake of believing that there is one right way to listen, talk, or to have a conversation.  Close the communication gap with creative options for discussion.