Book teaches "how to talk so men will listen"

Thu Oct 8, 2009 11:19am EDT
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By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ever watch a colleague take credit for your idea, been accused of being emotional, taken jokes too personally or been interrupted frequently in a meeting?

Most women will nod yes to such scenarios, say the authors of "Code Switching: How to Talk So Men Will Listen," a new book on communication, or the lack thereof, between men and women.

Men and women communicate differently, say authors Claire Damken Brown and Audrey Nelson, in ingrained styles learned from birth and deeply embedded in the workplace structure.

They propose "code switching," which they describe as using knowledge of more than one culture and language to communicate.

"It's a travel guide, in a way, to another country with another culture," Nelson said in an interview with Reuters about the book, published by Alpha Books.

The differences in men's and women's styles create a persistent "credibility gap," where women are credited with less authority and power than men, they write.

"The biggest complaint I have gotten for 30 years from all levels, all professions of women, is, 'How can I get men to take me seriously?'" Nelson said. "This book is to build a bridge in that credibility gap."

Men have lost about three-quarters of the jobs during the recession, but having more women in the workplace does not necessarily bring change, the authors say.   Continued...

<p>Two Korean women pose in the exhibition hall of Korea on the day of the opening of the Frankfurt book fair, October 18, 2005. The world's largest book fair with it's focal theme on Korean literature will be open to public from October 19 to 23. REUTERS/Alex Grimm</p>