Re: covert interview

Subject: Re: covert interview
From: Richard Lippincott <rlippinc -at- BEV -dot- ETN -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 1995 10:04:20 EST

Sue Gallagher wrote:

>I've found that most of the guys I work with are scared to death to
>say the wrong thing so they start out very uncomfortable. A couple of
>sincerely bawdy inuendos makes them much more relaxed! ;-)

Of course, that method may not work for everyone. But, speaking as a guy, I
think you're onto something important. In addition to professional barriers,
there are also gender barriers that are kinda tough.

Sherri Hall was on to this, as well. But it's a problem that goes well beyond
tech writing.

Some of you may have noticed, over the years, that many men just seem to have
trouble communicating with women. At worst, it's a demeaning or condescending
attitude from him, or maybe he's just shy and tongue-tied. Well, whatever
the reason, it's a communication problem.

I'm about to break part of the "men's code" here and admit something: many men
are simply afraid to communicate with women, because we're afraid of how stupid
we might look. So, we end up communicating badly, or not at all. (This is
especially true among guys who may not have a lot of self-confidence about
their appearance or fashon taste. Or guys that have been called such flattering
names as "nerd." Hmmmm. Anybody work with people like this?) It's ironic that
our attempt to compensate for our fear often makes the situation worse.

I'd suggest that -both- sexes consider what I've said, and try the following:

1) Women, please do what you can to make us feel at ease and relaxed. We're
afraid that you're going to laugh -at- us and hurt our fragile make egos.
2) Men, relax. They're not going to make fun of us behind our backs. And they
really don't mind if we admit we don't know something.

Needless to say, this is starting to get into an area that is -way- beyond the
scope of this list. But Sherri and Sue are, I believe, aware of something that
does contribute to writer/developer communication problems if it is also a
male/female combination.

Rick Lippincott
Eaton Semiconductor
Beverly, MA
rlippinc -at- bev -dot- etn -dot- com


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