Thursday, April 12, 2007

Communicating Across the Gender Gap

I saw an ad for an interesting CLE from ALI-ABA: ALI-ABA Professional Skills Series: Communicating Across the Gender Gap. It's in New York City May 11 -- and also available via the web. Here's the description (even if you don't look into the CLE, the description offers some food for thought):

Communication always goes two ways. What we say may not always be what someone else hears. And whether we like it or not, how well we communicate is deeply affected by gender.

A growing number of studies show again and again that most women and men have different styles of talking and of listening. Your gender makes a huge difference in how others hear and perceive you and can lead to misunderstandings and missed opportunities. This can have consequences for your legal practice, your reputation for professionalism, and even your career.

Presenting a proposal to clients, talking to partners, interviewing a witness, questioning the defendant on the stand -- all of these can be affected profoundly by the gender of the participants. When we speak to others in a firm meeting, before a legislature, to a judge, or to a public gathering, how the audience hears us will most likely be based as much on whether we are men or women as on what we say.

Neither male nor female communication style is better. And each can be modified to make it more effective. But unless you understand these profound differences, your communication skills will suffer.

This multi-media, multi-disciplinary program will give you fascinating, useful, and practical tools for understanding how gender affects communication and dozens of tips to help you in your daily life as a lawyer. Attend this program and learn:
  • How to use your own natural style to your advantage, and how to minimize what might seem to be disadvantages
  • How the nature of the legal profession exaggerates gender differences
  • * How the rules of a meeting affect who talks and how the seating arrangement at a table makes a difference in who participates
  • How gender affects interactions in the courtroom and how to deal with the issue
  • How to defuse gender conflicts in the office
  • Why many lawyers turn off potential clients of the opposite sex
Both speakers -- Steven Stark and Sarah Wald -- are well-known as speakers and authors.

If you are put off by the price ($375), not that ALI-ABA offers tuition assistance based on need. "ALI-ABA is particularly interested in applications from minority lawyers, public interest lawyers, government lawyers, and recently admitted sole practitioners."

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