You might consider yourself to be pretty contemporary and sophisticated. However, at work you may have noticed, during lively discussions and debates, that everybody interrupts each other. Lots of questions and lots of statements. You may also have noticed some differences in the way women and men talk.

There are some differences in the way women and men participate in conversations. Men interrupt women more often than women interrupt men. In some studies, men interrupt women four times more often than women interrupt men. 

In mixed groups, with men and women, men tend to speak more often and for longer periods of time. Men tend to control topics being discussed by shifting or drifting the discussion to issues they would rather discuss.

Women are more aware of turn-taking in conversation. Women are better at recognizing small changes in facial expressions, gestures, and posture that suggest others would like to talk. Women are more likely to engage in questioning, even when the questions are substitutes for statements. 

Women are more likely to convert statements into questions by using a tag form. Great place to work – Wouldn’t you agree? That was an interesting meeting – Don’t you think? That is a great place to have lunch – Isn’t it? Women work harder in conversation and invite others into the conversation.

One of the keys to effective communication is to let people finish their thoughts and their sentences. Active listening takes patience. Set the standard.

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