I recently wrote a post on connecting women’s ministry to the staff. Today I want to focus on verbal communication with male staff. There is a definite difference in how men and women communicate. Let’s take a look as how we as women’s leaders can be proactive in seeking to communicate well with male leadership.
- Communicate up front how much time you need for a meeting. When you have some issues to discuss, address the most important and fit it into a reasonable time slot. Ask for an appointment of that length. (Then if possible, return 5-10 minutes of that appointment!)
- Minimize physical movements as you “settle in.” Women tend to take longer to get comfortable in a meeting. Men may feel that this type of settling in indicates nervousness or lack of confidence.
- Minimize small talk. Although there is no problem with asking about family, keep it short and get to the point of your meeting.
- Learn to graciously interrupt. Often, the loudest voice always has the floor. At times, you may need to make your voice heard (graciously) as you represent the female point of view as representative of the majority of congregations. Perhaps start with, “have you thought about” or “may I suggest” as you share your perspective that will make a difference for women.
- Use concise statements. I love this statement made by Dr. Gary Chapman to a group of leaders as a conference I was leading. I asked him to help these leaders know how to connect with their pastors. He said, “Keep in mind that men speak in sentences and women speak in paragraphs. When you talk to a male staff member, talk in sentences!” He can always ask you questions for details if he desires them, but start with the bottom line.
- Understand the phrase: to take offense is to offend. Women often take to heart comments that are not meant to be personal. Be careful not to think each statement is a personal criticism.
- Avoid sounding emotionally overwhelmed. There is always a time for tears and emotions, but if this happens in each staff/leader meeting, it will probably make the men very uncomfortable. Ask God to keep you focused and on task as you meet.
- Be accepting of differences in men and women. It’s just the way God created us. We’ll never fully understand men any more than they will fully understand us and that’s okay!
- Have a solution worked out in your head to offer. As you address issues, think ahead to some solutions. This shows you have prayed and thought through the needs and have some possible solutions for you both to consider.
- Ask for help clearly. When you need something, just say it cleary. Don’t beat around the bush. Everyone is way too busy for that.
*See more help in the Effective Communication with Male Staff chapter in Transformed Lives.
What else would you suggest to make your staff and male relationships more effective as you minister to women?