It is interesting that over the last ten years I have been working as a communication coach, I have had more male clients then female. I have also noticed that amongst these men, there is a type who come often for public speaking coaching, but the issues they have are much wider.
These men are highly intelligent and often work as engineers or consultants. They get hired for their high analytical skills, their knowledge about technology and data. However, for all the talent they have with analytical skills, they are lacking in the social skills department. (By the way, I am guessing that these men are also a bit difficult to date, as it’s not easy for us woman to decipher their signals.)
I coached one such man, we will call him Leander, as he needed to prepare for a competency type of job interview. I like to put my clients just a little bit in the spot, so that I can understand them better. Luckily, most men like to be challenged in such a way (women are a bit different: more about that another time). I grew up with three brothers, and I love how easy it is to speak to men directly. We analyze things together and try to find a solution to their communication problems.
An awkward interview
With Leander we role-played types of questions he would get asked at this specific interview. But it was difficult to progress through the questions. He seemed to be seriously annoyed if I wanted to know the details of a work situation he described. If I probed into why he thought or did something in a project, he would become defensive. Throughout the role play interview, his body language spoke of a complete lack of enthusiasm. In addition, he was restless: he wanted the whole thing to be over. He was rather interested to discuss theory, and how things should be in the working world, but when I offered my point of view, he didn’t seem convinced. He was not exactly “open-minded’.
Although Leander struck me as insensitive and inflexible, I really liked him. I felt a gush of empathy towards men like him. Although employers try to avoid any prejudice in terms of culture, skin color and gender, they do have a of bias in terms of personality traits and brain disposition.
When you meet someone like Leander, it is easy on focus on their lack of tact and thus miss the qualities that these analytical thinkers have. Men like Leander work extremely well when left to their own. Yes, they need to learn to communicate better in teams, but they should not change their personality to suit an ideal “competent candidate”. In some cases, these men who have a hard time with social skills suffer from severe social blindness, which is not apparent but which has made them the subject for ridicule . I can help them to understand better what others are thinking, but all of us can use some empathy when we listen and interact with these men.
Are you in need of a communication coach? I can help you decipher what is holding you back and make a plan to become a good communicator. Drop me a line: mt(at)target-talk.com