“Kristen, you have a really unique voice.”
I kindly asked my friend “Matt” to explain to me what he meant my labeling my voice into a “unique” category. Was it bad or good? Being that I never spent any special attention to my tone while talking, I was anxious to know from a male perspective how my voice can be considered distinct. My friend and I talked for about ten minutes and through our discussion he explained that my voice was soothing and easy to listen to. I would always give encouraging words, and I always maintained the same level of voice. He especially liked talking to me because of my “laidback” persona and the “New York” that is heard when I speak. I thought to myself, soothing, laidback? Do I speak in his explanation of a “unique” tone to both male and females? After Matt’s explanation of my tone I began to pay special attention to how I interact with both my male and female friends.
An important factor to understanding the difference between communication styles by a male or female involves accepting the idea that our world is shaped by subjectivity. This means we are born with culturally defined traits. As women, we are taught to be kind, play with dolls, and speak softly. Males are often given games with high levels of contact such as a football, basketball, or action figures, and video games that assert self defense and violence. Through reading The Myth of Mars and Venus one of the claims included within the study of men and women is “Men’s goals in using language tend to be instrumental-about getting things done- whereas women tend to be interpersonal or relational- about making connections to other people (page 7).” Personally, I as a woman I can attest to my interpersonal skills within communication. I want to know that how’s, who, what’s, where’s, and when’s about a person.
I have noticed that I have an overall feminine style of communication especially while interacting with males. With males on an interpersonal level I am rather coy. In a business setting I become assertive. I would not consider my interactions with females “masculine” however, I do tend to be assertive with my female friends, especially if they are asking for advice. For example, my closest female friends and I have created a rule that we stand by called “tell it like it is.” With this rule we do exactly what the rule states. For example, if one of my female friends were to ask me for advice after a break up with a boyfriend or an altercation with another person, it is my duty to tell her both where she went wrong and what she could have done to avoid the situation again. In my small circle of best female friends we have all learned to respect each other’s feelings; however it is important that we say whatever we are feeling and sometimes this makes us come off as being assertive to one another even if it means elevating the tones of our voices. We respect each other’s opinions and we leave the discussion without any animosity…
If you’d like to continue reading my “self study” about how I communicate with others email me at Ask.Kristen@gmail.com
Also, I’d love to know about the way you communicate with others. Share your thoughts in a comment below.