One of the reasons I raise this point is because I have been asked to help a woman who is surrounded by men who are louder and more dominant than her. Many women do have a naturally softer style than men and sometimes I see them pretending to be loud and dominating too in order to compete. It doesn’t really work.
I think it is very important to be authentic – to stay true to your natural style. So rather than change ‘how’ you communicate (your style) perhaps think about ‘what’ you are saying (the words and the structure that you use). This may help you to get a dominant person’s buy-in to you far more effectively and you will feel much more comfortable too.
So, think about what you are trying to say and say it right at the start
- Start your message with the key issue from your audience’s point of view ie what is of immediate value, relevance or consequence to them
- Grab their attention by using statistics, quotes or evidence to back up your point
- Resist the temptation to download everything you know on the subject – back up your finer point with only the top few supporting reasons
In relating this to gender differences, it is important to remember that they are there for us to make the most of. I couldn’t be more aware of this as my husband and I approach the birth of our first baby. What we need to do is take confidence in the fact that these differences make us who we are.
Of course this will work just as well for men or women who have to create impact and influence when communicating with those that are louder and more dominant than them. Giving the key information to your audience from the start will get them to sit up and listen without you having to change your natural style.