Understanding the Opposite Sex

Improve communications with the opposite sex by understanding what's really being said.

Ah, the age-old problem of miscommunication between men andwomen. You might think that once you and your significant otherseparate for the workday, your gender woes are over. Unfortunately,they're only starting.

"For those primarily working with [the opposite sex,] youcan [improve] almost all your interactions if you learn to speaksome of the other gender's language," says Judith C.Tingley, co-author with Lee E. Robert of GenderSell: How to Sellto the Opposite Sex (Simon & Schuster). Likening suchgender differences to speaking Greek among the Spanish, Tingleyprovides the following advice for dealing with the opposite sex inyour business:

1. He says/She says: "I need more time to thinkbefore I purchase your product or service."
Translation: He doesn't need as much time, so offer hima sooner and definite follow-up time so he knows you're eagerand interested in the sale.

She really does need more time, especially if it's ahigh-ticket item. Tell her you'll call in a few weeks so shedoesn't feel pressured.

2. He says/She says: "I'm taking my businesselsewhere because you lost my last order."
Translation: He'll be a tough sell. For him, price andservice are more important than the business relationship. Be readyto bargain and compromise to keep his business.

She may change her mind, depending on the length and quality ofyour business relationship. "The relationship itself has valueto her that may supersede the quality of service at leastonce," says Tingley.

3. He says/She says: "I'm putting you onprobation because your work hasn't been up to parlately."
Translation: His ego will be somewhat bruised, but the keywith him is to be concise and matter-of-fact-and don't worry ifhe doesn't like you for it. If you deliver the news properlyand drop the subject if the probation period goes well, he'llrespect you as a boss.
She'll take the news much more personally, so dish it out, asTingley suggests, with "a few more pats on the back."

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