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During lunch the other day, one of my colleagues felt compelled to give me relationship advice. He said the most single important thing to a successful relationship was communicating effectively with your partner. He said that…

Men are simple creatures. You need to spell out what you are thinking in black and white. We won’t get it otherwise.

The conversation continued with various comments about the differences between the two sexes, and of course how “men are from Mars, and women are from Venus”.

It was an interesting discussion and one which got me thinking: this advice isn’t just relevant to your relationship with your partner, spouse, or latest fling. It is just as relevant to our work lives. After all, it’s almost like you are in a relationship with the people you work with. You see some of them for over 7 hours a day, 5 times a week (if not more).

Men, next time your female boss or colleague asks for something, was it clear to you what she wants? If it wasn’t, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. (Does she need that spreadsheet now or can it wait a few days?)

Women, if you have a male boss or colleague, spell it out. They’re not mind-readers and you can’t expect them to know that the presentation is urgent if you don’t tell them it is.

In brief, don’t assume people know what you mean. Be clear and concise when communicating with others, particularly with members of the opposite sex.

All this is applicable to your job search, regardless of gender. Be clear about your qualifications and job specs with headhunters and concise in interviews. This is especially important in informational interviews. It’s hard for people to help you if you don’t articulate what you’re looking for.

I’m curious to hear your opinion. Do you think women and men communicate and understand things differently?

 

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