What type of communication skills are women more likely to use? Let’s find out! Gender differences can influence communication styles, and someone’s gender expression can affect communication skills. This is often the result of teaching and instruction as children and young adults that outdated cemented ideas of how men and women should communicate; however, these distinctions are still prevalent in how many women communicate daily. This article will explore how communication is influenced by ideas surrounding gender by overviewing communication skills, discussing which skills are most commonly used by women and people raised as women, and how people of any gender can expand their skill set to engage with the world more effectively. Although gender differences can play a role in how someone communicates, it is possible to work around the system and expand communication beyond what is expected of you.
Common Communication Skills
Before discussing how women communicate, it is crucial to have a basic understanding of different communication styles and how they are used in everyday life. The most common communication skills include:
- Oral Communication: Oral communication is speaking clearly and concisely to avoid misunderstanding. This skill is important because it means that people can follow anything you say and avoid misinterpretation.
- Written Communication: Written communication is the ability to write clearly and concisely to avoid misunderstanding. This is important for the same reasons as oral and often even more so because it can stick around in records longer than verbal communication.
- Presentation: One skill that is important for communication is presented. When considering presentation as a communication skill, it is the way that someone can take an abstract or complicated idea and present it to others. This skill is important for ensuring that communication is received and understood well.
- Nonverbal Communication: Another form of communication is nonverbal, which includes things such as tone, body position, and facial expressions. As a communication skill, this can consist of controlling and monitoring your nonverbal communication and understanding and reading other people’s nonverbal communication.
- Respect: Respect as a communication skill is recognizing and honoring other people in the conversation. This is important because it allows the other parties to feel comfortable in the conversation.
- Confidence: Confidence as a communication skill is the ability to believe in yourself and the message you share. Other people will often mirror the confidence in the idea that you exude, so confidence in communication is vital to gain support for your thoughts.
- Active Listening: When people think of communication, they often do not immediately think of listening as a communication skill; however, communication cannot happen without listening. Excellent and attentive listening means paying attention to the other person’s communication in such a way that you absorb their ideas and understand their point of view before speaking again.
- Inclusiveness: Another important communication skill is inclusiveness. This means that the communication by a person includes anyone that may need to hear or interact with the touch and does not exclude people. This includes making sure that language used is not unnecessarily exclusionary.
- Honesty: Honesty as a communication skill means that you are telling the truth about all aspects of the ideas communicated, including the shortcomings of the point of view. This is important because it builds trust and ensures that all aspects of the concept are considered.
All these skills benefit everyone, regardless of gender and role. However, the gender that one presents as will often dictate how a person uses these skills, particularly when social conditioning comes into play. Regardless, the stronger someone’s communication is, the more skills they present, the more likely they will be conventionally successful.
Communication and Women
People who identify or were raised as women are often taught specific communication styles based on how those around them believe that women should interact with the world. Conventionally, men are often taught to be louder and more confident in themselves, and their ideas than women are. On the other hand, women are often taught to react rather than lead and to listen rather than speak. The social conditioning that this places on both genders can affect people of any gender when they interact with each other in workplaces or on a larger scale. These ideas are generalizations and apply most frequently when interacting with women. When conditioned as a woman, most people will excel at the following skills:
- Nonverbal: Many women tend to be very skilled at nonverbal communication styles. They can read how others feel without hearing them express it, and they are frequently in control of their nonverbal skills to either speak or repress this communication when needed.
- Active Listening: Women are frequently taught to be good listeners. They find ways to ask good questions and fully absorb any information being shared. For particularly empathetic women, this listening ability is a superpower of sorts and allows women to identify and notice both the ideas being shared and the interests behind them.
- Inclusiveness: Many women excel at inclusivity. Because women were excluded for quite some time, and women of color are frequently excluded today, many women have chosen to, expressly or implicitly, work to include as many people as possible. Women tend to be better at shifting language and understanding how to help someone feel connected.
Many women will excel at communication that welcomes and invites attention rather than demands it. However, expanding these skills past inviting and appealing may be necessary and helpful for success.
Tips for Expanding Communication Skills:
Whether a job, social situation, or life event has caused you to reevaluate your communication skills, expanding upon the skills you already have can help make you a well-rounded, excellent communicator, no matter the situation. Building these skills requires practice, patience, and mistakes; however, the result will often bring unrivaled benefits. Some tips for working on expanding skills and developing new ones include:
- Confidence: One of the most significant issues that many people will find when it comes to the communication they share is a need for more confidence in themselves. To have other people engage with and support your ideas, you have to be confident in them yourself. Building confidence includes sharing your thoughts with others you trust and asking them how they would honestly respond to them. Continue sharing your ideas with others until you can share them in a way that makes others believe in them.
- Empathy: Practicing empathy will often increase communication skills because it allows the communicator to understand and respect how another person feels. Empathy is the ability to notice and relate to other people’s emotions. This can help you know what a friend needs and how an idea is being received in a board room. This can be practiced by actively listening to others sharing their thoughts and working to recognize the underlying interests.
- Filter: Another skill beneficial for communication is filtering appropriate communication for any given situation. What may be applicable to a friend will not be relevant to speaking to a coworker. Practicing holding back on specific ideas until you are confident it is acceptable is a great way to practice this skill. Understanding what to share in each situation will help create more confidence in speaking.
Communication is power in a connected world like ours, and understanding how to communicate effectively can bring success, connection, and belonging. While gender may play a role in how we communicate, committing to developing and growing communication skills can expand communication and open new and exciting doors for people of all gender expressions.