just wondering....

r mason r_mason at NOCMSMGW.HARVARD.EDU
Wed Mar 1 12:23:21 EST 1995


Hi Stacey,

Bear with me through the first part of my reply; I am making these
observations about your post for a reason, mainly to emphasize the point in 
Julia A. Keith's reply to you.

In your post, you prefaced your question/observation with a paragraph
containing an apology: 
      "If this isn't the proper place to post this my apologies in advance."

an unnecessary explanation of why you are reading and participating in this
group:
      "(sorta just happened on it one day...:)"

a statement suggesting that you may be hesitant to say what you are about to
say:
       "Anyways here goes."

and finally, after your question, a statement telling all of us that we don't
need to take you very seriously:
             " -just me- 
                Stacey"


I am not trying to be critical of how you express yourself, but to point out
that the answer to your next question may be related to this.  I too have
noticed the kinds of behavior mentioned by Julia Keith; when I am
participating in discussion groups (I mean face-to-face, not by computer), I
see that some people always preface their points with statements like "I may
be completely misunderstanding the issue here, but..."  or  "This may be
totally off-the wall, but I think..."   People may also end their point by
saying "Is this making any sense to anyone else?"  or  "Sorry if this is
getting the discussion off track."   Many people say these things even though
they *do* understand the issues, or when they are not getting the discussion
off track.  It simply becomes a habit, and I try to consciously avoid it.

While people should be polite about making points, these expressions of
self-doubt or apology can really derail your point before you even make it. 
(I certainly don't like the other extreme, where people monopolize
discussions and blast their opinions without regard for what anyone else has
to say;  nothing ends a good discussion faster.)  But listen to yourself and
see if you are using apologies and disclaimers - it is a very common thing -
and try to remove them.  Try listening to someone whose opinions get noticed
and whom you respect, and see how they express their ideas.  Many people feel
nervous about expressing their opinion to a group of colleagues.  Remember
that your opinion is as likely to be valuable as anyone else at your level,
and that you have as much right to express it as anyone else, so you simply
don't need disclaimers or apologies.

Good luck,
Roberta J. Mason-Gamer
Harvard University Herbaria
22 Divinity Avenue
Cambridge MA  02138
_______________________________________________________________________________
REPLY TO:

Hi! i'm new to this group (sorta just happened on it one day...:) 
seems to be an interesting place. If this isn't the proper place to post
this my apoligies in advance. Anyways here goes.  
 
I'm a senior in engineering and I just recently noticed that my ideas and
thoughts just get ignored, but when a male to state the same idea it gets
noticed. Has this happened to anyone else? If so how did you handle it?
(Lots of lab classes and it gets more frustrating by the day.)             

                                    Thanks in advance for any help! 
                                        -just me- 
                                            Stacey



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