February 2007 Newsletter
Audrey Nelson Ph.D, Inc

Smart Talk

Well, since it is Valentine’s Day this month I thought I would focus on gender communication. This is an excerpt from a book that Claire Brown PhD and I are currently working on (working title She Doesn’t Know Jack and He Doesn’t Know Jill: Breaking the Gender Communication Code at the Office).

...Wouldn’t it be great if we each came equipped with our own blinker we could turn on to signal when we wanted a turn to talk? Since we don’t, the next best thing is to learn how conversation works and be able to anticipate and manage the conversation flow. Folks take turns when they speak with each other. Monica asks, “How are you?” Joey responds, “Just great. How you doin’?” Monica replies, “Wouldn’t you like to know!” And so on.
...These turns take a few different forms. They can be actual “turn taking,” starts and stops of conversation: one stops talking and the other responds by starting to talk. Or they may be interruptions: one breaks in or starts talking causing the other to stop when she/he hasn’t finished her/his sentence or train of thought. Interruptions are usually viewed as disruptive, taking control of the

"Where in the World is Audrey?"
Wednesday, Feb 7, 2007
“When in Rome Do As the Romans Do: Cultural Communication Considerations”
3:30 pm- 5:15pm
Leeds School of Business
University of Colorado, Boulder
Fleming Law Bldg, Room 155
(corner of Baseline and Broadway)
No registration Necessary

Tuesday, February 27, 2007
“Smart Talk”

4 pm- 6pm
Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
1445 Market Street


conversation away from the speaker. A classic interruption is illustrated by a “Close to Home” cartoon by John McPherson. A husband and wife are pictured sitting in a marriage counselor’s office when the wife comments to the counselor, “Bill has this annoying habit of…” Bill interrupts her saying, “Finishing all her sentences.” It’s classic because, as we’ll discuss, men interrupt women more than women interrupt men.
...When discussing turn taking in one of our gender communication workshops, a woman commented that she had to consciously cut back on the number of “uh huhs” she used when responding to her husband. Once she said, “uh huh,” then he would stop talking. She asked him to continue with his story. He replied that since she already knew what he was going to tell her, he stopped: “No sense repeating what you already know.” “What are you talking about?” she said. He commented that when she said “uh huh” he thought that she meant she had heard this story before. She said she just meant she was listening; she didn’t know anything about the story. This woman said after this had happened a few times, she just stopped saying “uh huh” and instead used eye contact or responded to him specifically to continue to let him know she’s listening.
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