June 2009 Newsletter
Audrey Nelson Ph.D. Inc

Smart Talk
Where in the world is Audrey

Why We Should Embrace the “Devils Advocate”

In group communication there are two roles that are often played out, the role of initiator and  that of blocker or devil’s advocate. Superior decision makers embrace both these roles because they are complimentary.

The initiator puts the new idea or concept on the table. Initiators tend to be creative and assertive. In response to the initiator’s effort the blocker will attempt to turn an idea or concept “inside out” by looking at possible disadvantages, cost effectiveness and by considering the “do-ability” quotient. If ideas are never given these kinds of “acid” tests, how do we know they will work?

In my work I witness a lot of “group think.” Teams that think the same, talk the same and act the same. Often this group dynamic is due to a false need for cohesiveness or the idea of being “team” players. In reality what is actually happening is the use of a conflict avoidance tool. Some participants in a group will misperceive the words or actions of the blocker as making personal attacks when really he or she may be trying to present an alternative vantage point or may be offering additional ways for the group to improve its position.

Even dead fish “go with the flow” of a stream. Welcome the individual on your team who plays the devils advocate!

Farm Credit Council Services
Victors without Victims

June 3, 2009
Chicago - Millenium Hotel
7:30 am to 3:30 pm

Federation of Corporate Council Litigation Management College
You Know the Story
June 16, 2009
Atlanta-Emory University

Federation of Corporate Council Graduate Program
Keynote: It’s Not About You
June 18, 2009
Atlanta-Emory University - 10:15 am

Did you miss one of the
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Browse the archives of Audrey’s 2006 to date Smart Talk Columns on her web!
Simply visit www.audreynelson.com
and click on “Newsletters.”

Coming in September!

Code Switching: How to Talk so Men will Listen
Claire Brown PhD and Audrey Nelson PhD
Alpha Books, September 2009

What will Code Switching do for me ?
My female coworker keeps saying I never listen to her … or something like that.
That’s our twist on an ol’ cliché. And sometimes it feels true – for both men and women in the workplace. 

Did he hear me? Is he ignoring me? What do I need to do to get someone to notice me around here? How come he doesn’t take me seriously?
Does it ever seem that men are speaking in code and you’re on the outside? Do they shut you down or ignore you when you speak? Perhaps you’re speaking in code, too – a different code.

Men and women DO have unique communication styles that don’t always mesh well. Code Switching offers a way of “reaching across the aisle” to open the lines of communication. It helps both women and men crack the gender code and speak in common terms, so work gets done, conflict gets resolved, and mutual understanding and respect prevail … in the workplace and beyond.

The strategies in Code Switching go beyond mere common sense. Authors Brown and Nelson provide cutting-edge techniques that can be applied directly with immediate success. Examples and anecdotes show how others have used these practices to demolish communication barriers and break through stereotypes.

Don’t wait another day to gain more impact and get the recognition you deserve. Discover the secret of Code Switching, and be heard and understood … once and for all.

How Code Switching will Change Your Life
Entering the man’s business domain, women often were viewed as misfits, having to modify their ways to suit the masculine work culture. Today there are nearly as many women working as men. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 46 percent of the workforce  are women. Of those working women, a whopping 68 million, 75 percent work full-time and 25 percent work part-time.
We mean business! How do women unlock the door and get men to listen? Many businesses are concerned about inclusiveness. They conduct diversity training but ignore or don’t emphasize educating their employees to be fluent in women’s and men’s communication styles. How many companies provide mentors for woman employees that coach them on how to present ideas and make an impact on the men they work with (usually their bosses)?
Are men still the bosses? The October 2008 Catalyst Research Pyramid of women in U.S. companies indicates that women make up 2.4 percent of the Fortune 500 CEOs, and 6.7 percent of the top money makers and 15.4 percent of corporate officers in Fortune 500 companies. As much as things are changing, they’re not changing fast enough when it comes to moving women up the corporate ladder. If a woman is talking at work, there’s a high probability that a man is at the receiving end and making a career-impacting decision for her based on what she just said.

This is not a male bashing book!
This is not a male-bashing book! (Note: Our male-bashing underground best-seller. Now Hear This! Get your Own Damn Coffee! is currently banned in 32 states.) This is not about whether women are better than men or men are better than women. We’re just different – genetically and socially.

What People are saying about Audrey

 Boulder County:  Power of Positive Discipline

  • Very informative, excellent information, great audience participation, interesting and relevant!
  • I like the flow of the material. Great delivery and fun. You are creative.
  • Strong program. Great references. I am looking forward to some of the reading materials you have mentioned.
  • A+ Knowledgeable presentation.
  • I appreciate the clarity of the workbook.
  • Marvelous.  Audrey positively responds to our comments. This fosters a “safe” environment for the class to share ideas and thoughts.
"Audrey's Top 4 CD Communication Hits"