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Your project went off without a hitch?but somebody else got the credit...You averted a crisis brilliantly?but no one noticed...You came to the meeting with a sensational idea?but it was ignored until someone else said the same thing...
HOW CAN YOU GET CREDIT & GET AHEAD?
In her extraordinary international bestseller, You Just Don't Understand, Deborah Tannen transformed forever the way we look at intimate relationships between women and ...
Your project went off without a hitch—but somebody else got the credit...You averted a crisis brilliantly—but no one noticed...You came to the meeting with a sensational idea—but it was ignored until someone else said the same thing...
HOW CAN YOU GET CREDIT & GET AHEAD?
In her extraordinary international bestseller, You Just Don't Understand, Deborah Tannen transformed forever the way we look at intimate relationships between women and men. Now she turns her keen ear and observant eye toward the workplace—where the ways in which men and women communicate can determine who gets heard, who gets ahead, and what gets done.
An instant classic, Talking From 9 to 5 brilliantly explains women's and men's conversational rituals—and the language barriers we unintentionally erect in the business world. It is a unique and invaluable guide to recognizing the verbal power games and miscommunications that cause good work to be underappreciated or go unnoticed—an essential tool for promoting more positive and productive professional relationships among men and women.
The bestselling author of You Just Don't Understand and That's Not What I Meant enters the realm of the workplace and shows readers how they are too often foreigners to each other. Tannen maintains that there is no one style of speaking that is superior in all situations, fully recognizing that differences in gender, ethnicity, geography, class, and personality effect communication in the workplace.
Amy was a manager with a problem: She had just read a final report written by Donald, and she felt it was woefully inadequate. She faced the unsavory task of telling him to do it over.When she met with Donald, she made sure to soften the blow bybeginning with praise, telling him everything about his report thatwas good. Then she went on to explain what was lacking and whatneeded to be done to make it acceptable. She was pleased with thediplomatic way she had managed to deliver the bad news. Thanksto her thoughtfulness in starting with praise, Donald was able tolisten to the criticism and seemed to understand what was needed.But when the revised report appeared on her desk, Amy wasshocked. Donald had made only minor, superficial changes, and none of the necessary ones. The next meeting with him did not go well. He was incensed that she was now telling him his report was not acceptable and accused her of having misled him. "You told me before it was fine," he protested.
Amy thought she had been diplomatic; Donald thought she had been dishonest. The praise she intended to soften the message "This is unacceptable" sounded to him like the message itself: "This is fine." So what she regarded as the main point--the needed changes--came across to him as optional suggestions, because he had already registered her praise as the main point. She felt he hadn't listened to her. He thought she had changed her mind and was making him pay the price.
Work days are filled with conversations about getting the job done. Most of these conversations succeed, but too many end in impasses like this. It couldbe that Amy is a capricious boss whose wishes are whims, and it could be that Donald is a temperamental employee who can't hear criticism no matter how it is phrased. But I don't think either was the case in this instance. I believe this was one of innumerable misunderstandings caused by differences in conversational style. Amy delivered the criticism in a way that seemed to her self-evidently considerate, a way she would have preferred to receive criticism herself: taking into account the other person's feelings, making sure he knew that her ultimate negative assessment of his report didn't mean she had no appreciation of his abilities. She offered the praise as a sweetener to help the nastytasting news go down. But Donald didn't expect criticism to be delivered in that way, so he mistook the praise as her overall assessment rather than a preamble to it.
This conversation could have taken place between two women or two men. But I do not think it is a coincidence that it occurred between a man and a woman. This book will explain why. First, it gives a view of the role played by talk in our work lives. To do this, I show the workings of conversational style, explaining the ritual nature of conversation and the confusion that arises when rituals are not shared and therefore not recognized as such. I take into account the many influences on conversational style, but I focus in particular on the differing rituals that typify women and men (although, of course, not all individual men and women behave in ways that are typical). Conversational rituals common among men often involve using opposition such as banter, joking, teasing, and playful put-downs, and expending effort to avoid the one-down position in the interaction. Conversational rituals common among women are often ways of maintaining an appearance of equality, taking into account the effect of the exchange on the other person, and expending effort to downplay the speakers' authority so they can get the job done without flexing their muscles in an obvious way.
When everyone present is familiar with these conventions, they work well. But when ways of speaking are not recognized as conventions, they are taken literally, with negative results on both sides. Men whose oppositional strategies are interpreted literally may be seen as hostile when they are not, and their efforts to ensure that they avoid appearing one-down may be taken as arrogance. When women use conversational strategies designed to avoid appearing boastful and to take the other person's feelings into account, they may be seen as less confident and competent than they really are. As a result, both women and men often feel they are not getting sufficient credit for what they have done, are not being listened to, are not getting ahead as fast as they should.
When I talk about women's and men's characteristic ways of speaking, I always emphasize that both styles make sense and are equally valid in themselves, though the difference in styles may cause trouble in interaction. In a sense, when two people form a private relationship of love or friendship, the bubble of their interaction is a world unto itself, even though they both come with the prior experience of their families, their community, and a lifetime of conversations. But someone who takes a job is entering a world that is already functioning, with its own characteristic style already in place. Although there are many influences such as regional background, the type of industry involved, whether it is a family business or a large corporation, in general, workplaces that have previously had men in positions of power have already established male-style interaction as the norm. In that sense, women, and others whose styles are different, are not starting out equal, but are at a disadvantage. Though talking at work is quite similar to talking in private, it is a very different enterprise in many ways.
If conversational-style differences lead to troublesome outcomes in work as well as private settings, there are some work settings where the outcomes of style are a matter of life and death. Healthcare professionals are often in such situations. So are airline pilots.
|A Note on Notes and Transcription||19|
|1||Women and Men Talking on the Job||21|
|2||"I'm Sorry, I'm Not Apologizing": Conversational Rituals||43|
|3||"Why Don't You Say What You Mean?": Indirectness at Work||78|
|4||Marked: Women in the Workplace||107|
|5||The Glass Ceiling||132|
|6||"She's the Boss": Women and Authority||160|
|7||Talking Up Close: Status and Connection||204|
|8||What's Sex Got to Do with It?||242|
|9||Who Gets Heard?: Talking at Meetings||276|
Posted April 4, 2001
Deborah Tannen is THE source for information on interpersonal communication. In this book especially, she gives great insight into why many times the 'masculine' or commonly male style of communication is considered more effective in a workplace. For people that may have trouble communicating with co-workers or superiors at work, this book is for you.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.