Recap: “The Art of Persuasive Communication” – June 11, 2015
By Sabine Becker-Thierry, FEW Programs Director
What do we women value about our own styles of communication? When do we feel most convincing and when less? With these questions Dr. Nancy Snow, professor and current Abe-fellow specializing in media and PR, propaganda and public diplomacy guided the audience through an interactive evening on Women’s Powers of Persuasion.
We often think of women as particularly strong when it comes to communication. And yet, women remain less visible than men. Just look at the newspaper: how many times are women cited and how many more times are men cited as experts on hard power topics such as politics? Men are perceived as ‘natural authorities’ as Dr. Nancy Snow explained. They do not need to qualify themselves whereas women have to. That’s also why it is important to be aware of our own communication style and how to improve it.
That includes knowing your ‘verbal tics’. Think of women that ‘uptalk’ – they end a declarative statement as if it was a question. Immediately, these women are perceived as uncertain – although their argument may be a strong one. Or when women start their sentence with ‘I feel like’, ‘I think’ more than men to qualify what they are about to say. This can lead to associating women with hyperemotional states over rational states of being, a la ‘she is a little too emotional for the job’.
Reactions from the audience were that it wouldn’t hurt if men also used qualifiers such as ‘I think’ when not stating facts but their own ideas, but it was agreed that when working with men it is best to be assertive in terms of communication style. For instance in negotiations, as one member shared her experience, simply ask what you want and say you are not there to negotiate about it – and you may be surprised how well that works! Another woman shared that it helped her to write down in advance what she wanted to get out of a negotiation and to rehearse those arguments.
Tone is another important feature of communication as Dr. Snow mentioned. Lower tones are associated with authority and truth for both men and women. While softer tones as often exhibited in women are seen as friendly, non-aggressive, and helpful – ultimately hinting at the motherly and caring ‘female’ characteristics.
So what does it mean to be persuasive as a woman? Clarify how much you are motivated by a need to be liked versus a desire to be respected. Then become aware of the strengths and weaknesses in your communication style. Often we may not be aware of our own verbal tics or even replicate stereotyped thinking in other women, for example when judging them in professional situations. Checking in with your friends on how your tone and tics come across and not being shy of asking for their advice is a great first step. And FEW members will be more than happy to share their tips and experiences as the June meeting showed.
About our speaker
Dr. Nancy Snow is an Abe Fellow and Visiting Professor at Keio University completing a book on Japan’s global image and reputation since 3/11. Snow is former Professor of Communications at California State University, Fullerton and maintains an Adjunct Professorship in the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California. She has held visiting professor appointments in China (Tsinghua), Israel (IDC-Herzliya), Japan (Sophia/Keio) and Malaysia (UiTM), as well as Syracuse University’s Maxwell and Newhouse Schools. Dr. Snow is the author, editor, or co-editor of ten books, including Propaganda and American Democracy,Information War, Propaganda, Inc, Routledge Handbook of Public Diplomacy and the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of Critical Public Relations. Snow is a two-time recipient of a Fulbright (Germany, Japan) and has served as a U.S. Speaker and Specialist in Public Diplomacy for the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.
To learn more about Dr. Nancy Snow., visit her website: http://nancysnow.com
How I Got Here: Tia Haygood
If you were to tell me that I would be an entrepreneur in a country 11,000 kilometers from my hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, I would have laughed. Yet here I am running my own business, TopTia Photography. I officially moved to Japan in 2011 as an English teacher, biding my time before graduate school. […]Published on 1st March 2017
History of FEW Series: Illustrating Women in the Workplace
In celebrating 35 years of empowering women in Japan, FEW has been looking back on our unique collection of FEW historical items and information. One of our favorites is the FEW 20th Anniversary Newspaper, which highlights the early years of our organization. This newspaper is full of great mentions, interviews and historical anecdotes, all of […]Published on 1st March 2017
February Meeting Recap: Lean In: Japanese Women
By Lisa Matsumoto, Public Relations & Communications Intern On February 9th, FEW members and guests leaned in to listen to our guest speaker, Rena Suzuki, co-founder and leader of Lean In Tokyo. Lean In is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women achieve their ambitions. Lean In Tokyo helps women gain confidence and take an active […]Published on 1st March 2017
February 2017: Welcoming our new FEW Members
This month, we are proud to welcome five new members to the FEW community! Our members hail from all over the world and have diverse and unique experiences to share with FEW. As the go-to place for personal and professional learning and connection, we’re constantly inspired by our members. If you’re interested in FEW membership, click here for […]Published on 10th February 2017
Q&A with Rena Suzuki, Co-founder and Leader of Lean In Tokyo
Leading up to our upcoming monthly meeting on ‘Leaning In’ in the workplace, we’re featuring a Q&A with speaker Rena Suzuki, Co-founder and Leader of Lean In Tokyo. The Q&A is modeled on the Proust Questionnaire, designed to reveal insights into the respondent’s personality. Here, Rena reflects on following her passion, the power of connection, […]Published on 6th February 2017
The Art of Pricing and Negotiation
Join us for the fourth Women’s Start-Up Club meeting on Wednesday, March 29th, where we’ll learn about the "art of pricing and negotiation" in an interactive workshop featuring Vanessa Oshima, General Manager, Women's Category, at Nike Japan.
Midweek Lunch Mixer at Le Petit Marché
Join us for delicious food and great networking on Thursday, March 30 for our monthly midweek lunch gathering at Le Petit Marché in Roppongi.
Unveiling Japan: New Themes in Travel & Tourism
Get the inside scoop on tourism in Japan as Chiara Terzuolo and Rie Miyoshi, two travel industry experts, discuss how Japan is promoting tourism in the run up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, as well as new business opportunities in the industry and their top picks for Golden Week.
Special Lunch Mixer in Midtown Park
Join us for delicious food and great networking over a picnic in Midtown Park on Thursday, April 20, at a special edition of our monthly midweek lunch gathering.