Table of Contents
This paper purposed at establishing the gender differences in business communication. To understand these disparities, the researcher interviewed Mr. David Topel who gave his insights on the differences in interaction between men and women. Discrepancies such as communication styles, the process of communication, and influential tactics were some of the differences identified by Mr. Topel during the interview. Moreover, Mr. Topel gave different recommendations for solving gender gaps in business communication that included the acquisition of facts on differences in conversations between men and women, creating awareness of the discrepancies, use of different styles of communication among other factors. Most of the factors identified in the interview were echoed in the secondary data, and it was found out that men and women have different strategies of communication and interpret communication differently. Moreover, misinterpretation of information while communicating because of the prolonged process of conversation was another factor that may lead to gender gaps in communication. Therefore, there was an ultimate need to seek for evidence on how to solve the gender disparities in communication. Indeed, various researchers acknowledge that understanding the communication gaps was imperative in the negotiation process of the challenges. Coupled with the understanding, was the elimination of stereotypes against men and women associated with the business communication. Moreover, adoption of different communication styles was found significant in helping reduce the gender differences in business communication. Indeed, the business world must be ready to face gender differences in communication, as they are here to stay. Pretending that these discrepancies do not exist will only make the process of business interaction difficult. Men and women have been socialized different, and they assume these virtues in the way they go about their daily chores. Businesses must endeavor to prioritize streamlining their communication processes by making their affiliates aware that communication gaps are a real phenomenon in the corporate world. Therefore, the institution of policies meant to reduce gender gaps in business is a responsibility of every enterprise if they envision going through these challenges and emerging victorious. At times, people have trouble and facing these problems head-on helps the see beyond them other than evading them. Similarly, businesses must prepare to counter the effects of gender communication gaps in business because the environment they operate is not isolated for a particular gender. Men and women make this critical entity of the society that directs the lives and survival for the people.
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Gender differences in business communication affect how people engage and interact while going about their transactions. Indeed, women and men communicate differently. The modern society has substantial inequality among men and women, and these disparities are replicated in how people interact with each other in the different social, economic and political contexts. The gender stereotypes and roles assumed by the society are the catalysts to the ever-growing chasm between men and women in the community. According to McQuiston & Morris (2009), women tend to display language politeness and converse cooperatively compared to their male counterparts who organize their communication competitively. These differences in communication create a situation of misunderstanding and can cause miscommunication in mixed and same gender conversations. It becomes essential for business partners to consider these differences while engaging in business and trying to establish some of the problems they may encounter while dealing with the same gender or opposite one. These understanding will enable the communicators to avoid misconception of others as well as cultivate understanding and appreciation of the communication discrepancies among gender. According to Merchant (2012), the understanding and appreciation of communication differences among people is the sure way of avoiding confrontation in business communication. Indeed, there are apparent differences between men and women in business communication and providing solutions to these problems is essential for stakeholders in ensuring that there is no communication failure while engaging in business.
The author of this paper interviewed with Mr. David Topel to identify the gender gaps in business communication as well as find the possible solution to these differences. Mr. Topel was very cooperative and never hesitated to give his insights on the topic. He was clear that one of the most severe business communication gaps was the type of communication. According to him, there are several interpretations connected with specific non-verbal cues and depending on the gender of a person, this type of communication was subject to misinterpretation. Moreover, the process of communication was another problem associated with gender disparities in business communication. Mostly, Mr. Topel referred to the receiving and sending visual cues between people. Another type of gender gap in communication noted by Mr. Topel was influential tactics while communicating for different purposes. Notably, people may tend to influence others during the process of communication with the aim of changing the results. Importantly, the styles of communication appeared to affect gender disparities in communication according to the responses offered by Mr. Topel.
After the discussions of the gaps gender, Mr. Topel had some methods that could be used to mitigate or solve these discrepancies in business communication among men and women. First, he said that it is essential to acquire facts before engaging in business communication. According to him, stereotypes possessed dire consequences in the process of communication and avoiding these biases leveled against men or women was imperative in solving the communication gaps they may bring. Being aware of every gender style of communication was another factor emphasized by Mr. Topel. The knowledge of both the verbal and non-verbal communication differences among men and women is essential in ensuring that there is no instance of miscommunication and improves working relations among opposite gender. Moreover, Mr. Topel saw the need for using different styles of leadership while making business communication. There is no one fits all leadership style, but some leadership styles are effective in bolstering communication among men and women in a business environment. Getting the information also appeared to be the most important method to solve gender gas in business communication according to Mr. Topel. It is vital that leaders and stakeholders in business activities endeavor to recognize the differences among gender to facilitate open discussions to find the similarities and use the disparities in achieving greater objectives together.
Leadership is based on social relations between leaders, and the subordinates and communication is an essential element in this process. Businesses operate in an environment that they have to ensure that they make the right communication for them to guarantee that there is the much-needed harmony between them and their clients and among different people working in the premises of the business. Notably, there are apparent gaps between men and women communication strategies something that calls for effective management of the communication process to ensure that is no failures in message delivery. Indeed, if business experience miscommunication because of gender differences, they may be at the edge of failing. Various scholars have made a significant contribution in identifying the gender gaps in communication as well as proposing methods to solve these differences for effective management of organizations.
Gender differences in verbal and non-verbal communication appear to be imperative when it comes to bringing misunderstanding in business communication between men and women. Form the interview, Mr. Topel recognizes that disparities in communication strategy among men and women were a hindrance to effective communication between different genders in business. McQuiston & Morris echo these sentiments (2009) where linguistic features among men and women were found to have significant implication to use specific features agreeable to a particular gender. Such features such as the use of intonation and the amount of time taken while negotiating deals were important in determining how men and women prefer striking deals. Tymson (2017) also supports this argument by saying that men and women have different ways of expressing their different signals while communicating. For example, the study notes that nodding among women during discussions implies that they understand the message while among men it means that they agree with what is being said. In his article, Merchant (2012) states that women and men have different ways of relaying message because of the perceived rightness of the use of specific strategies of communication across gender. Therefore, the perceived interpretation of varying gender of certain types of communication affects the translation and understanding of the message by people in the business.
Communication process appears to be another matter that significantly affects the gaps in business communication between men and women. From the interview, Mr.Topel agreed that the method of communication plays a significant role in influencing the interpretation of interactions from a gender perspective. Fatima (2013) argues that communication process involves various interpretations of information at different stages of communication. Depending on how different men and women see this information, the method of communication is affected. For instance, the study says that emotional ties while perceiving things while men are more objective in their perception of occasions bind women. Therefore, these perceptions of the intentions of communication can have far-reaching effects on the ends of a communication process. Paustian-Underdahl, Walker & Woehr, (2014) also echo similar sentiment concerning the method of communication and gender gaps in communication. Notably, the study reveals that the process of communication is a multifaceted one requiring communicators to make certain inferences at a point or another. Therefore, the understanding made people from a gender perspective will be domineering in determining the final deductions from the communication.
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Sometimes people use tactics to influence the products of a process. Similarly, in communication, it is possible that influential tactics will have effects on the end of the business communication. Men and women have different ways of influencing communication and decision making in business. Hesmondhalgh & Baker (2015) conducted a study and found that women were more influential in a business where they used their soft skills to earn promotion and jobs as well as secure deals in the business. On the other hand, men were found to lose various business deals because they went into business negotiations chest high. Another study conducted by Pauwels, Erguncu & Yildirim (2013) found that the use of moderate approaches while negotiating for business deals was more commanding compared to what one was putting forward in the agreement. Therefore, women were found to be more influential in winning business deals compared to their male counterparts who thought that the contribution in the agreement carried the day.
Every style of communication has a role to play when dealing with a business communication strategy. Notably, men and women have different methods of communicating. Moreover, the style of communications has a direct relationship with the type of leadership within an organization. Gender and communication gaps in business appear to be a subject of communication and leadership style. In a study to establish the relationship between communication among men and women and their effects on leadership outcomes, women were found to be excellent communicators because they were to overcome cultural barriers by embracing more conventional methods of communication and leadership (Netshitangani, 2008). Merchant observed similar findings in a study (2012), where women were found to be more socially interactive while relating with their partners in business. Indeed, women were seen to have good communication styles and the value workplace associations compared to men. Therefore, having female business partners or customers made communication easier compared to men. The power-oriented communication among men was the defining factor for their poor communication in business.
One of the reasons for the thriving of gender gaps in business communication is stereotypes and bias. The establishments of a neutral point where men and women work and see communication form an objective point of view will help reduce much of the problems associated with the breakdown in business communication because of gender issues. According to Mohindra & Azhar (2012), there is a possibility that these differences can be bridged through the establishment of an equilibrium between men and women. The attainment of this status is through the identification of the differences and finding the ways to fill the gaps between the sexes. Another study by Berger (2014) found that the change in the perception of the audience and development of content during communication could help reduce the gaps that may potentially occur during communication. Therefore, trying to avoid the prejudices that prevail in the interaction among men and women in a business environment is imperative in helping reduce communication breakdown and create a level of functional engagement between both genders without fear of misinterpretation.
Identification of the barriers to communication among men and women in business also help solve much of the differences occurring between them. It is not possible for one to face a problem that he or she is not aware of its source. According to Merchant (2012), the process of dealing with communication differences between sexes involves a thorough identification of the factors that bring about these disparities. Once the elements are identified, it will be possible to determine how to deal with them one by one. Onwuegbuzie & Byers (2014) also have similar findings where he says that both verbal and non-verbal cues have far-reaching implication on the process of business communication. He identifies the use of alternative methods of communication such as social media in making business communication as a method of mitigating communication breakdown between men and women in business. Indeed, it is possible to be able to come up with policy standards as business associates that will enable all persons to express their concerns without the fear that their contribution may be misunderstood. Moreover, the understanding that some types of communication work well under certain conditions is significant in trying to establish the most effective way of handling conversation between men and women in business (Ainsworth, 2013). Therefore, facing the problem without knowing its source would be absurd in the process of finding solutions to gender gaps in business communication.
Gender differences real. Failing to appreciate this harsh reality is accepting to grapple with the harsh realities associated with it. Apparently, communication gaps continue to widen as the disparities in gender grow. Once we realize the urgent need to know that women and men will never be equal, the society will embark of applying the differences between the genders and create a point of intersection where we can negotiate deals. Notably, Kimbrough, Guadagno & Muscanell (2013) says that despite having several differences among men and women in communication, they are not to be taken negatively. Indeed, these differences are the strengths bestowed upon every gender and trying to build on what men can do better without regarding with negativity fosters creativity and harmony. The use of a soft command by women in communication can enable businesses to make deals instead of using men who do not have concern over the contracts as they have something to give (Knobloch-Westerwick, Glynn & Huge, 2013). Communication differences among men and women will never end, but the gaps that we see can be dealt with appropriately and lead a life as if nothing such as that ever existed.
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There are several gender gaps in business communication. Scholars have delved on the disparities and found that they have the possibility of bringing breakdown the process of communication in business. Indeed, men and women have different means of communication. Therefore, they must be perceived as unique entities that require distinctive styles of communication. Notably, the is no universal model for communication and trying to harness the differences and interpret then on who makes them and under what conditions will help appreciate every gender once they communicate. The process of interaction between genders in the business context will never be the same, but it is possible that businesses will bring the different understanding and use them to gain competitiveness. The abolition and reconceptualization of gender stereotypes in communication will also enable communication in business gain a different perspective that will solve the gender bias question. It is essential for businesses to consider using gender differences in communication to empower women and give them a suitable position in the communication rank.
Businesses must take steps to create a fostering environment for both genders to communicate efficiently without feeling intimidated. It is also significant that business hires communication professionals who will mediate the process of communication. Importantly, businesses should see communication from an objective point of view rather than regarding gender. Educating business stakeholders must learn of the stereotypes against both men and women for them to be able to identify them and avoid becoming victims of their effects. The identification process should be preceded by policies meant to mitigate or solve some of the apparent communication prejudices based on gender.
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