Overcoming Communication Barriers between Genders Essay

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Roles of men and women

Of the many changes which have taken place in American society since World War II, one of the greatest has been in the roles of men and women. Members of both genders have lived multiple roles in the past, but these were generally established ones, such as men being the wage earners and women the caregivers.

Communication followed largely defined cultural and societal norms. Usually, nuances in speech and in body language could readily be interpreted. As Archie Bunker nostalgically sang in television’s "All in the Family," "... and you knew who you were then; girls were girls and men were men."

Many of the roles have remained the same, but now they frequently are carried out by members
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From childhood, many women are taught to smile and be pleasant to others. Smiles of good will, interest, and encouragement by either men or women, however, can be interpreted as agreement with what is being said. In conversation, it is necessary to be direct and honest as well, especially when a smile does not signify agreement or approval.

Men often talk at women, not with them. One chaplain assistant NCOIC made a habit of periodically bringing all members of the staff who were interested into a general conversation at a convenient location in the office. Early in the morning, at random intervals, he introduced a question or comment on a current event or another objective topic on which anyone would be able to contribute information or an opinion. As the men and women of the staff shared the conversation, they grew to know and respect each other and their backgrounds. They were more ready to offer their information and insights on work-related topics, and close teamwork throughout the staff developed.

A senior chaplain encouraged teamwork in his staff through frequent roundtable discussions of assigned projects. This practice also ensured capturing the information and expertise possessed by staff members other than the one who had the responsibility for the action.

Different ways of relating to others

The sarcastic wit and ironic language often used by a man to show regard or comradeship to