Have You Heard That Men and Women Communicate Differently?

For years you have grown up listening to people tell you that men are physical/sexual beings while women are a roller coaster of emotions. Although, no two people are alike, I found that this statement is in fact true for the most part.

 

Men communicate with the intent of independently making a decision. Women communicate to process all the information that they have just received and talk it over again. In conversation, Women tend to have more in depth conversations. They add memories and emotions when communicating. While Men, have much more simpler conversations leaving out the fine details and only adding in extra information when asked to do so.

 

If you have noticed in a workplace that Women do not hesitate to approach Men with information or questions that they have directly face to face. While Men will approach Women from the side angle because face to face conversation is sometimes declared as to personal for Men while working. Have you noticed that Women tend to nod their heads as a sign of affirmation that they understood what you were saying or explaining? All women are secretly shaking their heads right about now. Well, Men tend to nod their heads as a sign of agreeing with you or the argument at hand. Women, next time you are listening to a male co-worker speak make sure that you are aware if you nod. Sometimes they will misinterpret this as you agreeing with them and not just you acknowledging what they said.

 

Communication also has an unspoken language. Body Language. Women, we have been doing this since we were born. It is almost like body language is hidden away in our DNA and it literally shows in our faces every day. We have faces for everything; sad, happy, disgust, confused, and lost. While Men on the other hand have one face with a hint of smile every once in a while. Too often we give ourselves away in our facial features. They should have a class in High School on how to contain your facial expressions when you are in the middle of a conference for work. Many times the way a Women shows her body language gives away how she is feeling or what she is thinking at the moment when she doesn’t necessarily want it to be known yet.

 

So, with all of the information I have given today I have a few pointers to remember in everyday life whether it be at home, work, or school.

 

Take these facts with a grain of salt. Like I said before, no two people are alike. Men and Women will always communicate differently.

Stay Aware. Make sure you know how to communicate correctly between people. The way to talk to one person may not be the same method you use to talk to another person.

Finally, Get Information. When you interact with people on a daily basis it is ok to ask them questions. If you know a little more about them you can communicate with them more easily.

 

By Brittany Sample, Business Major – IUPUC

 

 

Miscommunication in the Workplace

I’m sure we can all relate to miscommunication with a boss or fellow employee at work. When this happens, processes could potentially fall behind or customers could become angry about not being properly attended to. Without having good communication skills in the workplace, it is hard to get things done in a timely manner. Proper communication is vital to a workplace running smoothly and efficiently.

There are many reasons behind miscommunication in the workplace. One of the main issues is language barriers. I have had bosses, as well as customers, who spoke a different language than I do and it is tough trying to figure out what they need and how to appropriately help them. It is nice having interpreters that can help, but the communication issue is still always there. Another really big reason behind the lack of communication is being given confusing information. For example, if my boss tells me to do something but I am not sure what she means, I might not get the process done as effectively as I would if I fully understood what needed to be done. Be sure to double check information with the person in charge to make sure it is correct.

Along with confusing information being given, there might also not be enough information being given. If there isn’t enough information given, the process might not get completed all the way. My boss has left out some information when giving me a project to do and I had to go back and redo some of it and it is just frustrating. Be sure to get all of the information out in a timely manner to the person doing the job in order for the job to get completed properly.

There might also be miscommunication between employees. When talking to a coworker, people need to be sure to not put it in a way for the other person to misinterpret what is trying to be said. Be sure to have a clear understanding of the point you are trying to get across before sharing it with someone. Some employees have trouble listening to their leaders. If employees don’t fully listen to what their bosses are telling them to do, they won’t efficiently get the job done.

Another big issue in the workplace is mixing personal lives with professional lives. People need to be sure to leave their personal lives at home before coming to work. There is no reason for everyone to know what is going on with you outside of work, unless you feel the need to talk to human resources. Bringing personal lives into the workplace takes the mind off of the job you are doing, causing mistakes to happen and sometimes those mistakes could cost you your job.

Having negative attitudes in the workplace could cause miscommunication to occur. There could be two employees that do not get along, creating communication issues. There could also be an employee that doesn’t particularly care for their job, causing them to not listen to direction as much as others. Negative attitudes could cause the workplace to be a hostile environment, which could lead to other problems in the future.

Having effective communication in a workplace is an essential part of getting the job done that is needed. If there are communication issues, the workplace could have meetings to talk about them and fix them to the best of their abilities. It is a good idea to talk about things that are going wrong so that it won’t be an issue in the future and things will fun more efficiently and smoothly. Good communication leads to effective productivity, which leads to happy managers and employees.

By: Taylor Bray, Accounting major at IUPUC

Technology Making the Workplace Smaller

Technology has been making the workplace smaller longer than some may realize.  For example machines in factories make car parts, clothes, and wood-work.  All the human has to do is type the design into another form of technology, a computer.  Of course someone has to push a button to start the machine, sometimes move equipment, and fix a machine if something goes wrong.  Basically, machines are faster than most humans and don’t have to be paid, so this knocks out a big chunk of jobs.  An example of this is an ATM.  These machines do the same job as a bank teller.  Of course we still need bank tellers because not everything can be done by these machines, but if you need money at one o’clock in the morning then it’s definitely more convenient.  Think back to the time period prior to this particular technology.  It was a time when everyone knew each other by name and to the point that they would ask, and actually care about, how the person’s family was doing.  This goes to show the disadvantage to this type of technology.  It has turned society to be less sociable in person, therefore, making a workplace smaller.

Here is another look at our lack of sociability.  There are many countries where almost everyone has a desktop or a laptop computer.  This means many jobs can be done from an employee’s home.  This is to their advantage because it allows them to multitask.  One may be busy with taking care of children or even just the home; either way a video or phone conference can be done easily, but possibly not more effectively.  For example, the use to be a door-to-door salesman’s job is now done from a Bluetooth in the ear of a person half way around the world; who by the way, gets hung up on, meaning, the loss of costumers, therefore, the loss of their job.  This change has pushed us into thinking it’s strange to have someone come to our door and that we should be scared of anyone who does.  This means they are getting paid to sit in the comfort of their own home, staring at a computer or talking on the phone.  However, when you actually need to talk to a human, you only get a recording that has taken someone’s job because they are no longer needed.

At this point you might be thinking just the opposite, wondering “isn’t it technology that has made life easier?  Isn’t it easier to be more sociable because it’s easier to contact someone?”  The answer is yes; however, technology isn’t usually used for that.  Less actually gets accomplished when talking to someone online than it does when talking in person.  For example, some employees are careful about what they write in an e-mail because they are afraid of how it will come across to their boss.  So this employee may not write what he or she actually needs to, in order for something to be accomplished.  The more technology we are forced to use in the workplace, the more normal it will be to only need to communicate with technology instead of our coworkers.

By Lindsay Hobdy, Business Major–IUPUC

Conflict has “bad” Connotation

Webster’s Dictionary defines conflict as a “fight, battle or war.”  My initial reaction to this definition was, can conflict be a good thing?  Conflict generally has a bad connotation surrounding it. Not only is there bad conflict but there is also good conflict and we see examples of both in everyday life. 

Conflict arises from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes or demands.  Conflict can be internal or external and all people deal with it in different ways, the most common form of resolving conflict is some form of confrontation.  I cannot go on without saying that there is another popular method for resolving conflict, which is ignoring the problem all together.  People who like to avoid conflict are often trying to keep the peace amongst people.  The problem with ignoring conflict is that the problem will still persist until it is dealt with or someone else handles it. 

In the 21st century change is continuous and always occurring.  The slogan leading Barack Obama’s presidential campaign “Change We Can Believe In” is one example of how the world is ready for change.  However, there is one setback; the more that change is added to an environment the higher the level of conflict there will be.  Conflict is often slower to arise between people and organizations in a normal environment without change.  Living a conflict-free life is all but impossible in a world full of change. 

How conflict is handled determines whether it is good or bad.  Many of us do not like conflict but it can really be a good thing, especially when it helps a team or employees identify the best possible ideas.  When emotional responses are set aside progress can really start.  A key for conflict to go well is to have good communication skills.  The tone of an employee’s voice alone can dictate how the conflict is dealt with.  There are always problems that have to be dealt with and if handled correctly they could make some good out of the bad.     

There are a number of reasons why conflict can go bad very quickly or even be doomed from the start.  The way that an individual decides to deal with an issue sets the scene for results.  The first attempt to deal with conflict should be non-confrontational and more of a relaxed approach to achieve the best results.  That method does not work with all conflicts and sometimes laying down the law is the only option.  Being knowledgeable of the situation and who you are dealing with is also very important.  When dealing with conflict avoid playing the blame game, not listening, being defensive and trying to win. 

Personally I like to think of conflict as either good or bad while some people see conflict as neither good nor bad and just something that happens in life that has to be dealt with for progress.  Both good and bad conflicts lead to progress, it just might not be the direction you had in mind.

By Gregory Kelley, Business Major- IUPUC

Pro and Cons of Telecommuting

I believe that telecommuting started to become popular in the twenty first century.  This is when computer and Internet technology really started to advance.  More people than ever before now own a cell phone.  Very powerful computers including laptop computers started to become very affordable and popular for people to own in their own home.  High speed broadband Internet became much more affordable and available to many more people than in the past.  There was also the desire for more people to be able to spend more time with their family at home than to have to travel to and from work each day.

The major advantage for someone to telecommute is the ability to work from home.  I do believe that this can be a major advantage for many people.  Some people have families with children where they would like to stay close to at home.  In this case telecommuting can be a major advantage to them if the job has very flexible hours working in a very relaxing environment at home.  Most people that do telecommute every day from home have a separate area in their home away from the rest of their family so that they can focus on their work.  I do believe that telecommuting is very popular for stay at home parents.

Telecommuting can reduce the amount of money that is spent on gas.  With gas prices over three dollars a gallon now in many parts of the country, it might make sense to work from home more often than to drive to work every day.  This can really benefit the environment.  The life of a person’s car can be extended as well by not driving to work everyday. The telecommuter might be able to focus more doing their work from home then having to deal with the daily office distractions.

Telecommuting might also open up the job market for some individuals.  The economy in the U.S. is not really doing well right now.  Some people might have to look for a telecommuting job online in another state.  In the past if someone wanted to work for a company in another state, they more than likely had to relocate to another state.  Now they can just work from home anywhere if they were to get hired.  Telephones including cell phones, web cams,  and video conferencing might be used if the telecommuter has to talk with coworkers and managers in another state.

The major disadvantage of telecommuting is that there is no daily social interaction with coworkers and managers.  This could make it harder for some telecommuters to get promoted because managers do not see their employees daily.  Telecommuters can also sometimes be lonely.  The telecommuter has to really be self-motivated to be able to work every day from home because some people consider the home to be a place to relax and not work.  Some people might have a hard time separating their work life from their personal life working at home everyday.  Telecommuters working from home might be easily distracted from work if they do not have a separate area in their home for work.

Telecommuting does have some advantages and disadvantages.  Full time telecommuting is not for everyone.  It depends on what the person’s personal situation is at home and what type of job they would prefer to do for a living.  I do believe that full time telecommuting is not for someone who is single because they might desire the social interaction with people by going to work every day.   A telecommuting job might be more appealing for someone that has a family at home.

Personally, I do not believe that I would like or enjoy a full time telecommuting job but I would consider a job with some telecommuting work at home after I am done with college.  I would be someone that would enjoy going to work every day and having interaction with my coworkers and managers than someone that just does their work on the computer at home every day.  There are many benefits to a job that has some part time telecommuting.

I do believe that telecommuting will keep on getting more popular in the future because technology just keeps on advancing.

By Eric Shepherd-IUPUC Business Major, Ivy Tech Alumni

Tweeting one’s self out of a job – how do you juggle social media and your career?

The following is an article written by Will Brown for his x204 business class:

Facebook, Twitter and other social media are all freely used at the job site and during the hiring process. Even if you are searching for a job social media can be helpful. So, how do humans balance using them and actually working? I think it really depends on the type of job itself and whether you have the job or are searching. Do you really think fast food places actually take the time to look at a possible employee’s Facebook or twitter account? Lies! Those places are so busy and are always hiring that it probably doesn’t matter at all. I know from personal experience in my younger teen years working at McDonalds there were times I would walk in that place and post on my wall how much I hated it, or when someone dropped someone’s food and still served it. It happens all the time. Fast food restaurants simply do not care, in my opinion. As far as businesses like car dealerships, government jobs, sporting equipment stores etc. These companies care a little more about the kind of employees it hires. During the hiring process, from the time you fill out the application until about a week after the job applied for has been filled, these companies check people’s social media sites. As long as you know not to post degrading comments about the place you are looking to be hired by, DUH! Or post pictures with you holding alcohol or smoking weed and that drunk/high look on your face from the crazy night you had last night at a friend’s 21st birthday party. You will be fine.  Personally I work at Hibbets Sporting Goods in Greensburg, Indiana and I have known people to get fired over social media.  The kid just simply did not get the fact that they couldn’t have their phone in the store during their shift. Let alone be on Facebook posting and commenting to his friends about last night’s run from the cops. They would post dumb things like, “wish I was at the house with a beer in hand watching TV.” Come on man.  Then they were smart enough to add their boss, on Facebook, while at work. The boss knowing that we did not have a extra computer to get on Facebook, therefore knowing the employee was on their phone that they can’t have in the store. Not Smart!

                Let’s look at some instances that social media has literally cost someone. Chad Ochocinco, National Football League (NFL) wide receiver, was fined 25,000$ for using Twitter during a game in violation of the social media policy in the NFL, an actual policy that he broke and was fined for it.  The NFL and other professional sports have social media policies. What makes you think businesses don’t? Just about every big name in professional sports have twitter accounts, LeBron James, Drew Brees, Chad Ochocinco, Tom Brady, Alex Rodriguez, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Ray Lewis, even commissioner of the NFL Roger Goodell. All they are doing is providing entertainment for sports followers, not saving a life, fixing the economy, working in the government, working in a sport store or working at Wal-Mart.  They get fined big money for using them while they are at work. Social media is huge, very easily accessed and equally as detrimental to whether you get a job, or keep a job. Balance wisely possible employees.

                Now on the other hand social media could be good for the hiring process. If you fill out your bio page, and your profile and keep them updated employers have something else to look at when deciding whether to hire or not to hire. Always post up to date information on those pages and keep them updated. Also, in this world of technology we, social media users, know there are ways to keep people from looking at your pictures, posts, comments and statuses. It’s called the privacy setting or just not friending your boss on Facebook.

Differences Between Group Work and Team Work

The following is an article written by X204 Business Communication Adjunct Lecturer Robin Fritz for Chron.com, the online business portal for the Houston Chronical:

Overview – In the business world, the words “group” and “team” seem interchangeable, but smart managers realize there are subtle – but important – differences.  Recognizing these differences early on will help small business managers to more effectively lead people to achieve their organizational goals.

What is a Group? – A group in the workplace is usually comprised of three or more people who recognize themselves as a distinct unit or department, but who actually work independent of each other to achieve their organizational goals.  For example, a small business may have a client services group, but one person may focus on local clients, one person may focus on regional clients and a third person may assist both of those individuals.  Also, groups tend to be permanent fixtures with ongoing goals or responsibilities.

What is a Team? – A team is comprised of three or more people who may come from different departments within a business, but they collaborate together over time to achieve some set purpose, goal or project.  For instance, before a small business creates a new product, it may organize a team comprised of people from all departments – engineering, finance, legal, marketing, etc. – to consider all aspects of the potential new product in order to avoid costly surprises down the road.  With a team, individuals recognize the expertise and talents of others needed to achieve the team’s goal.  Additionally, teams are often formed for temporary assignments with one specific goal, focus or outcome in mind.

Why Form Groups? – Managers recognized many years ago that two heads are better than one, thus small businesses have turned to groups or departments for many reasons.  With group work, members have a shared knowledge of the group’s objectives, but specific tasks or responsibilities are assigned to different individuals.  By separating work into groups – such as one devoted to marketing, one devoted to accounting, etc. – individuals within those groups are able to maximize their expertise on a long-term basis.

Why Form Teams? – Businesses form teams usually to tackle a specific – and usually temporary – goal or project with the intent of leveraging the collective expertise of a variety of people.  Because experts from various departments are involved, teams can avoid potential problems early on in a project.  For instance, a team of only engineers may create a new product but may not understand whether it’s affordable until someone with a finance background completes a “return on investment” or ROI analysis on its feasibility.  Having a finance member involved on the team from the beginning will help the engineers to create an affordable product in the first place, saving time and resources.  Teams can be very productive because involving people with different talents provides teams with increased opportunities to work more efficiently.

 http://smallbusiness.chron.com/differences-between-group-work-team-work-11004.html

Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

The following is an article written by X204 Business Communication Adjunct Lecturer Robin Fritz for Chron.com, the online business portal for the Houston Chronical:

Overview – Thanks to technology and faster transportation, the world is growing smaller every day, leaving plenty of opportunities for businesses to expand their products, services and staffs on a global scale.  But with a more global business environment comes a host of new challenges, not the least of which is learning to function in a multicultural workplace comprised of people with widely differing backgrounds.  For businesses with a very diverse workplace, successfully juggling a multicultural staff can make or break the bottom line.

What is Culture? – Culture is an interwoven system of customs, morals, traits, traditions and values shared by a group of people or a society.  It provides people with a common heritage, and it links them through shared experiences and joint learning.  Cultures exist on scales both large and small, ranging from large cultures extending to countries and regions, such as the American culture or Middle Eastern culture, to such small and distinct cultures as that of Amish communities in Pennsylvaniato the Basque culture in southern France.  Moreover, cultures provide people with a sense of self identity and community, and it greatly influences their actions within the workplace.

What is Diversity? – But, not all cultures are the same.  For instance, some cultures operate on a more “low-context” level than others.  People raised in low-context cultures tend to be very literal – focusing on the spoken word – and they’re more often analytical and action oriented.  Low-context employees also tend to use linear logic in the workplace, for example proceeding from point A to point B to point C and so on.  Additionally, business managers raised in low-context cultures strive to be efficient and professional, and they treat time as a very limited commodity.  North America and Western Europe are examples of low-context cultures.

Embracing Cultural Diversity – High-context cultures, on the other hand, tend to be more contemplative and intuitive, and workers raised in such cultures often treat time as an endless resource.  Additionally, in such cultures, spiral logic is more common, with individuals circling indirectly around a topic, considering it from all angles and viewpoints instead of head on.  Whereas Americans may be very literal, high-context workers pay attention to more than just the spoken word, believing that all aspects of communication – body language, facial expressions, etc.  – carry as much meaning as the actual words themselves.  Examples of high-context cultures include Far Eastern, Middle Eastern and Hispanic cultures.

Encouraging Cultural Diversity – In today’s global economy people from both low-context and high-context cultures are interacting in multicultural workplaces like never before and, as people are affected both visibly and invisibly by their cultures, conflict can result from the inevitable misunderstandings.  For example, employees from high-context cultures such as China, Mexico or Japan may prefer to imply no with their body language rather than saying no in actual word form.  Literal Americans and Canadians, however, often overlook these subtle implications and may fail to understand. 

To overcome multicultural misunderstandings, smart business managers will take the time to learn about and understand the differing cultures represented within their workplace, and will train their employees from different cultures on how best to communicate with each other in the workplace.

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/multicultural-effects-workplace-10989.html

If You Post It, They Will Come….

Welcome to the X204 Project!  We are a group of business communication students at Indiana University – Purdue University’s Columbus campus.  Together, we are exploring workplace-oriented communication topics in a social media format.

Failure to practice good communication habits can stop your forward career progress.

Beginning in September of 2011, we will post weekly topics focused on communicating effectively in a business environment.  And, as real communication is a two-way street, we welcome your feedback!

To Agree or Disagree? Apparently, It Depends on the Chromasomes

Below is a link to an interesting article from Inside Indiana Business regarding a University of Notre Dame study.

Not another double standard!

 The finding? “Disagreeable” men advance in the workplace while “disagreeable” women do not. 

According to the study, when men react in a disagreeable fashion, it’s because they’re viewed as being tough.  But not so with the opposite sex.  Disagreeable women are viewed as control freaks.

Can you say “Martha Stewart” everyone?  I think you can.

The article goes on to say that the “way women communicate their demands matters more than it does for men.”

Which is not exactly a news flash to any woman who’s labored away in the workforce for the last 30 or 40 years, but we’ll give it to them.

Read on for more:

http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?id=49071

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