Q: Don't men and women approach communication differently? Are you recommending techniques in your column that work better for men or women...

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Q:
Don’t men and women approach communication differently? Are you recommending techniques in your column that work better for men or women?

A:
Women and men may be from different planets when we communicate. We also come from different tribes (families) with unique social rules. Many communication problems occur because we believe we’re all speaking the same language.

My column advocates the use of a third language, which focuses on benevolent strategy. Many people get distracted from their goals by wanting to be right, popular or comfortable. Other folks believe that “winning through intimidation” is actually an effective tactic.

This column asks readers to keep their eye on the ball at work by remembering what they originally wanted during their communications. This column also teaches readers that if you don’t incorporate other people’s agendas into your outcome, your success will be short-lived.

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Benevolent strategy means you don’t express the naked truth, but say what will be effective and kind in your situation. You choose words and behavior based on what you want to happen, not what will immediately make you feel good. You’re willing to trade being right, looking perfect, and being admired in the short run for being effective in the long run.

In many ways, the world of work is set up for “man speak,” and the world of home is set up for “woman speak.”

Just teaching skills that help men and women translate each other’s words doesn’t get at the problem of needing a common language. Ask any house husband or female executive.

Anyone who works for a living can tell you the biblical story of the Tower of Babel is not merely about how people were stopped from building a tower to heaven. Our lack of a common language impedes the productivity, harmony and creativity we could otherwise achieve at work.

I’d ultimately like each of my readers to have the skills to generate the influence, support and network required to build a tower toward whatever heaven they long for.

The last word(s)

Q:
I’m constantly annoyed at many of my co-workers and customers. People tell me it could be worse. How?

A:
You could be numb. At least you’re aware of what you want.Daneen Skube, Ph.D., can be reached at 1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 2845, Issaquah, WA 98027-7001; by e-mail at interpersonaledge@comcast.net; or at www.interpersonaledge.com. Sorry no personal replies. To read other Daneen Skube columns, go to: www.seattletimes.com/daneenskube