Deborah Tannen 's Conversation Style Essay

Deborah Tannen 's Conversation Style Essay

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In the introduction of Deborah Tannen’s “Conversation Style: Talking on the Job”, she compares and contrasts the ways men and women communicate. This reminds me of what I tell people that are struggling in their relationships. Women and men express themselves differently. Women think, but men act. If you can’t wrap your head around this, being in a relationship with anyone is going to be hard. Yet, this is such a basic way of looking at this issue. Not only are the genders vastly different, but each person relates to the world around them in a certain way. He or she also needs to be related to in a specific way. Looking at personalities and personal histories can give a better look at the way we communicate with each other. Tannen examines gender categorization, identity, and interpretation.
When someone says ‘gender categorization and identity’, I think of the 1950’s and places where women aren’t worth as much as men. They hold some negative connotations for me, but they aren’t bad in their essence. Categorization is placing things into classes, to organize them. We categorize gender as children because of our culture. A doll is assessed as a girl because it wears a dress, yet it cannot be female. People are assigned the most basic identity in gender, no matter who they are. A black male would be categorized differently than a black female would be. Erving Goffman takes this debate a step further to say that some behaviors are “somehow inherent in their sex” (qtd. by Tannen; 63). Behaviors of men and women seem to fall into patterns with their corresponding genders. Not everyone fits into these neat little boxes. This does, however, show gender categorization. Gender identity is the opposite of gender categorization. This is the ...


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...the group I was with ended up lost in a part of town that was worse for wear. We definitely had no intention of asking for directions. Communications styles only become flawed when they are put together and the interpretation differs from the intended message.
Conversation in any aspect of life can be difficult. Conversations at work with vastly different people are a challenge. Doing the same thing but expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. The key to communication at work is to not become that insanity. Sorting things into boxes, even people, is a human trait. Identifying with a group or idea is the way we assimilate and belong. Learning and observing would mean nothing without interpretation. None of these things are bad in and of themselves. Everyone needs to find flexibility, wisely choose when to speak, and when to admit you have no clue.

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