conferences

Bharathi Jagadeesh bjag at ln.nimh.nih.gov
Sun Oct 5 15:14:38 EST 1997


aloisia schmid (a-schmi at uiuc.edu) wrote:

: At any rate, I will readily admit that as I have been in the field longer
: and gotten to know the literature better, that i am feeling more secure in
: what I know....but doubt that I will EVER be in a position of
: self-satusfaction or ease that alot of the men I see at these conferences
: seem to enjoy as a matter of 
: course....
:                         alice

There's a book I've been skimming, _They don't
get it, do they?_ by Kathleen Kelly Reardon. It
talks about workplace conversations  and how to
word your comments in a more positive, less
insecure ways. The book is also full of a
lot of political concerns about women in
major corporations. But, what I found interesting
was descriptions of conversations, and how they
could have gone differently. Here's an example:

Michael: You came on a bit strong at the meeting
Jessica: I was just trying to make a point.
Michael: Well, you sure did that.
Jessica: Do you think I overdid it?
Michael: It isn't what I think that counts.
Jessica: Did Al say anything to you about what I said?
Michael: He didn't have to. Didn't you see his eyes?

Here's her revision:

Michael: You came on a bit strong in that meeting.
Jessica: Somebody had to. The project is too important to
worry about making everyone feel cozy. 

I believe that it is too convenient to just assign
these issues as being gender issues -- I know of
plenty of men who do not interact in the
traditionally "male" way, and some women who do (I, for
example am a terrible interrupter). As a couple
of others have mentioned, some of these differences
can also be cast as "in/out group" or "extrovert/introvert"
interactions. 

But anyone who wants to play the game of science
(in addition to doing good scientific work -- I'm
a firm believer that both are necessary), has to
learn to project a confident, able image, almost
all the time, and especially at meetings, during
presentations, during interviews. I think that
this _can_ be done without participating in he type of
confrontational/competitive interaction that
Alice has described, but it does mean joining those
conversations, and being confident about your
comments. 

These are learnable skills and it's our responsiblity
to learn them (and the responsibility of advisors
to teach them).

-- 
Bharathi Jagadeesh/bjag at ln.nimh.nih.gov
Lab of Neuropsychology, NIMH
Building 49, Room 1b80
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
(312) 496-5625 x270




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