October 2010 Newsletter
Smart Talk
Who is Audrey?

Media Blitz

Women Should be Seen, Not heard

About a year ago I was invited to be the “guest expert” on gender communication for the Psychology Today blog. My most recent posting Speak Up! Women and How they Say Things received interesting responses. The article dealt with women’s voices including volume, length of responses, etc. Here is an excerpt from the article (I encourage you to visit Psychology Today to view the entire article):

Women communicate a level of authenticity through the expressive variation of their vocal cues. They can demonstrate real sincerity, show their true feelings, and exhibit empathy in what they say. The variation inherent in the female voice conveys charisma. This is a great asset for public speaking. Women also talk to bond and connect, to fill up the empty space in order to make others feel more comfortable. Indeed, filling the silence can increase the comfort level for everyone, including the women themselves! If we don't have a good comfort level, we don't have good communication-our interactions become strained and forced. Women engage in "relationship talk" (classically called "chit-chat") to help them warm up and ease the conversation into an easy, spontaneous flow.

Here are some of the responses and my feedback

  • 1) I don't think it's just me. Part of the difficulty I have in absorbing some women's spoken or written communication has to do with the sheer volume of it. In almost all situations I am simply trying to hold up my end of the exchange. I need to know whether the person would like support, information, suggestions, reflection or something else. Unfortunately I often have to review the input repeatedly in an effort to understand what the other person's state of mind is. Of course at the opposite extreme I have to be prepared to spend hours dragging communication out of men.

My response:
One of the common criticisms of women’s speech is they go on and on. Also, many studies have been conducted regarding the number of words (much greater) women use compared to men. And, yes, on the other end of the spectrum are men who you may need to “pull information” from; they often speak in a more abbreviated style.

  • 2) Agreed that men may generally present a more "goal-oriented" and 'assertive'  front, but they're also often less clear about the emotional underpinnings
    of what they're saying, and especially about what's important to them and what they really want. Women not so much, though they do seem to require more
    of a "process"  (discussions, meetings, consensus, whatever) to actually arrive at the "decision" (even though it's obvious they've already made up their minds). And yes, voice and speaking style are important "persuaders", but no more than confidence, empathy, salesmanship, vision, and a host of other qualities that aren't "gender-exclusive" (not withstanding the tired old excuses of "social-conditioning").

Audrey Nelson PhD. is an international trainer, consultant and author who works with organizations to increase their productivity and profitability thorough winning communication strategies.

You can reach Audrey at audrey@audreynelson.com
or at 303.448.1800 O or 303.448.1802 C.

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Did you know that Audrey was invited by the editors at Psychology Today to participate as a gender communication expert on the Psychology Today blog . Check it out!

Current Article

The Politics of Eye Contact: A Gender Perspective

From birth to death and all occasions in between, the eyes have it. While women and men differ in their eye behavior and what that behavior means, eye contact is the strongest form of nonverbal communication.  Read More

Coming soon
Denver Tech Center Colorado Business Women
Wednesday March 9, 2011 from 11 am to 1 pm
Code switching: How to talk so Men will Listen - Maggiano’s DTC
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Audrey Goes to
Korea for Gender Consultation

Click here for complete story and pictures

aAudrey was asked by the State Department to be a guest speaker and consultant for the US Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. She addressed a variety of groups including the Korean Supreme Court, The National Assembly, Korean media and a variety of women advocacy groups.

Dr. Audrey Nelson addressed how enhancing inclusion through critical gender relationships and cultural awareness can leverage South Korea’s female talent pool.  An exploration of the difference between simply recognizing male-female diversity and leading with a full understanding of how inclusion can benefit business will be the focus. A fuller understanding of workplace dynamics that undermine the full participation of women and a deeper awareness of how differently men and women communicate is necessary in order to prevent these gender differences from leading to resentment, decreased productivity and workplace stress.

arrowAudrey conducted an interview on Code switching 9 am to 10 am (9/24/2010) - Seed to Sky Radio, "Growing Businesses Small to Tall"


arrow Audrey was interview on the 'Everyday Show" with Natalie and Chris on Channel CW2 on the topic - How to Deal with People You Hate - KWGN-TV, Denver

arrowCode Switching gets in the Top Selling Women’s Magazine in US.  See Cosmopolitan magazine's September 2010 issue and Audrey "Read His (Sexy) Lips" p. 75.
On stands now!

My response:
Women tend to be more process oriented and men more goal oriented in their speech. Yes, there are many variables that contribute to credibility and persuasiveness. However, research reveals when the nonverbal cues contradict the verbal, we tend to go with the nonverbal. If the voice is not strong it is difficult to be convinced the person is confident.
Nothing is “gender exclusive.” There are always individual differences. I had a soft spoken man in a seminar recently and asked him to speak louder. However, this is an uncommon event.

  • 3) Women should work with their strengths and stop trying to be someone they're not. Their strengths aren't in the boardroom. It's a social as well as biological limitation. That doesn't take away from who they are though... We all have limitations... The best of us work around them and live our lives accentuating our strengths rather than trying in vain to overcome our inescapable weaknesses.

My response:
WOW! The comment “their strengths aren’t in the boardroom” reveals a bias. Women belong anywhere they want to be. Awareness of limitations provides an opportunity to change and grow for both men and women.

It's here!

Code Switching: How to Talk so Men will Listen
Claire Brown Ph.D. and Audrey Nelson Ph.D.
Penguin Group-Alpha Books
ISBN 978-1-59257-926-6


Code Switching: How to Talk so Men will Listen is a hands-on tool for everyday use at the office. It is a practical resource with how-to steps to help businesswomen conquer the communication nuances between men and women in the workplace. This book explores the gender impact on business talk. It teaches using true stories and case studies, while providing valuable “code-switching” tips to help women gain and strengthen credibility and make a greater impact on the job

Code Switching:
How to Talk so
Men will Listen -
book trailer

Click here to view
What People are saying about Audrey

Hello Audrey,
Thank YOU for a terrific presentation to the group.  From the group's engagement with your session and verbal feedback we received, they found a lot of thought-provoking and useful tools to incorporate into their professional lives.
I greatly enjoyed working with you and also hope to work with you again!

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"Audrey's Top 4 CD Communication Hits"