Communication Strategies for Women in the Workplace

Why can’t a woman be like a man? Why is it that women need a different strategy to be successful when working with men or in a male-dominated company or business? How come women can’t just do what we feel comfortable with and break through the glass ceiling? There are three reasons:

1. Men don’t like questions. Women do.
2. Men don’t have high-pitched voices. Many women do.
3. Cultural expectations are different for men and women. Women are raised to be nice. Both men and women are biased against women.

So let’s start with one simple technique that you can use right now today to improve your communication skills with men. Stop asking questions. Instead, use statements or simply give instructions. You can practice right now with your husband, mate, or children. Instead of saying, “Hi honey, how was your day?” try this, “Hi honey, tell me about your day.” Notice the subtle difference. You will not be asking a question, but instead giving a gentle instruction. Men do really well with simple, specific instructions. Don’t be afraid to be specific. You are more likely to get the result you want if you are specific.

Try this at work on male colleagues and bosses and you’ll instantly get better results. When you go into a meeting with your boss, avoid asking any questions and instead convert everything into a statement. Instead of saying, “What changes did you want me to make to this report?” say, “Tell me what you wanted me to change.” The moment a man hears a question, their hackles go up, unconsciously so this new style you adopt will put men at ease. It will take some practice on your part to get used to it so get your male friends to remind you every time you ask a question so you can practice converting it into a statement. ‘Tell me…’ is a good starting point. E.g. ‘Tell me what you most liked about my presentation.’ Instead of asking, ‘When would be a good time to meet?’ say, “Let’s set up a meeting for Friday at 1pm.” This makes you come across as more confident and more directive. Men associate questions with weakness. Instead of saying, “Can you clarify what you mean? I didn’t understand.’ Change that to an instruction: ‘Please explain your third point about the sales figures.’

Are You Sabotaging Your Career Unintentionally?

I’ve just gotten back from my first trip to Dublin where I was giving a talk for Morgan McKinley entitled: Break through the Glass Ceiling: Communication Strategies for Women in the Workplace. This seminar was so popular and caused such a stir that I thought I’d make it available to the population at large, yes, even men! In this webinar, I’ll share with you the biggest concern the attendees had: how to set clear boundaries. I’ll also reveal a number of mistakes women make unintentionally that sabotage their careers.

First, let’s explain boundaries. A boundary is simply something people can’t say or do to you any longer. You can make up any boundaries you need to be your best. Boundaries are essential to career success and, contrary to what most women think, are essential to getting promoted. If you don’t have boundaries or they are weak or inadequate, you will be taken advantage of, stepped over or even stepped on. You will become a doormat, in effect. Doormats don’t get respect and they don’t get promoted. The first step is to expand your boundaries so that they are much bigger than you think you need.

Generally, men are much better at setting boundaries than women and I’ll explain why this is the case in the webinar.

Common boundaries you might want to install if you don’t have them in place already:
• People can’t waste my time.
• People can’t interrupt me.
• People can’t be late when meeting me.
• People can’t yell at me.
• People can’t take advantage of me.
• People can’t be rude to me.
• People can’t make sexist remarks or jokes around me.
• People can’t call me after 7pm on weeknights.
• In the webinar you will learn how to install these boundaries without coming across like a prima donna and much more.

Listen to the webinar and find out from me directly or you can read either book, Coach Yourself to Success or The Secret Laws of Attraction for this simple and effective 4-step communication model on setting strong boundaries. Whatever you do, make sure you have strong, firm and clear boundaries in place both at home and at work to set the stage for your raise or promotion.

Recommended reading:

Curious about this webinar, Break through the Glass Ceiling: Communication Strategies for Women in the Workplace? Read on…Frustrated when nobody listens to your ideas in a meeting? Perhaps you have been overlooked for a promotion? Are you close to that glass ceiling but just can’t seem to break through?

In this one-hour webinar, you will learn:
1. 8 ways women stunt their careers unintentionally
2. How to set boundaries gracefully
3. Why women can’t use the same strategies men use to advance their careers
4. How to build your confidence at work
5. How not to take things personally
6. How to use the voice of power
7. How to speak and be heard: 2 simple ways to get your point across
8. How to get the respect and recognition you deserve
9. How to attract the best people and opportunities effortlessly

Talane Miedaner, MCC
International bestselling author of:
Coach Yourself to Success (McGraw-Hill, 2012)
The Secret Laws of Attraction (McGraw-Hill, June 2008)
Coach Yourself to a New Career (McGraw-Hill, April 2010)

Get free coaching tips at