American Bar Association

While gender stereotypes can, at times, be off-putting, there is a value in their analysis. Certainly, sweeping statements of distinct gender behavior and preferences tend to be oversimplified, e.g., women are not sports fans, when in reality I am a huge New York Mets fan and my oldest brother would have a hard time naming even one major league baseball player. However, stereotypes exist for a reason. And by understanding the differences, generally speaking, between male and female behaviors, we can work to reduce unconscious bias that exists in the workplace. This was the theme of speaker Cara Hale Alter at the annual meeting of the Corporate Legal Operations Consortium. Alter is the author of The Credibility Code, and the founder and president of Speech Skills, an award-winning San Francisco-based communication training company, whose clients include Facebook, Ebay, and Google. In a recent Law 360 article by Michele Gorman entitled How to Benefit from Gender Dynamics in Communications, the author discusses Alter’s presentation which focused on “gender-identified patterns and culture clashes caused by differences in style and language,” with an emphasis on common male vs. female approaches to communication.

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