The Effect of Time’s Up on Men

Though we do have our share of heroines who fought for women’s equality way back, the fact is that our drive did upend the structure of business and industry – male power structures – as they had been run for centuries.  This demanded lots of adjustment and compromising on men’s part as we kept pushing our way in.  They needed to think about these new kinds of male-female relationships and how their lives would change.  How would they adjust? What would the new roles be that they would have to play with women who worked with or for them?  “This is not what I expected when I grew up and moved into the places I assumed were waiting for me.  After all, growing up as a boy and a man in the U.S. imbued them with the sense of power they “inherited”.

I have been involved in the women’s movement from the beginning and hosted a pioneering women’s daily TV talk show in Boston in which we not only showed the first full-fledged birth of a baby but dealt with every phase of politics and the power issues of the day. And I was always aware of the fact that we were creating quite a social upheaval. That we do need to keep remembering that we were not invited in to share men’s thrones!  That was our idea as we started making inroads into what had been a totally accepted societal norm till the late 60s and 70s.

The triumph women feel in this truth-telling time is long overdue and certainly moving in the right direction. But I often wonder about the effect it is having on men.

Till not so long ago, Mom stayed home and Dad worked.  The early resistance and resentments were therefore understandable but were not given much thought. In our zeal, we only saw them as unfair, old-fashioned, and often as the “enemy” because they wouldn’t exactly let us in.  Even now, as women have moved far ahead and are much more actively running for office, we must continually deal with the still fairly common prejudice against continuing to cede power or grave responsibility to women…

So now we come to the Time’s Up Movement.  And the #MeToo movement.  Effects?  Well, the prurient secrets are out in the open.  Although I was also a victim, lots of other folks have finally begun finding out about the rampant physical disrespect for women and the use of men’s power against women that has gone on for generations. The noise of #MeToo allowed many women to stand up and tell about their experiences and let the public know something that was hidden for so long.  And the effects have been powerful and fairly shocking – like bankrupting Harvey Weinstein’s company and several really important TV and theatre stars losing their careers.

But moving this information into the light of the major public arena has made a difference for women.  One of our big problems is now shared by the world!  That SAG-AFTRA award show where everyone talked about it and the women all wore black and the men wore the Time’s Up pin was enormously effective.  A kind of shared “fists in the air” with steam building.  What must that this have done to men?  Well, I have heard defensiveness from men as well as lots of Bravos.  But here it is again.  We not only pushed our way into their world but now have the ability to get public notice for telling ills we have long suffered.  From them!!  Of course this is generalizing but when you talk of group-think, that happens.  But notice the power that has recently been given to women!

So, alongside the triumph of getting to tell the truth out loud, I think we should also consider in how many ways men have had change thrust upon them. That their natural resentments and defensiveness can create a bit of a backlash.  But the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements are spreading new information and creating change as the cover gets blown off this long-held secret.

I cannot leave before I recognize and applaud the younger generations. Born into this new world, they have accepted these changes: Moms working, Dads sometimes playing Mom’s roles, new levels of sensitivity and openness to the many variations the human condition can create as the norm.  Accepting what has happened to women’s roles, they did not pay the costly price of intrusion and change thrust upon previous generations.

So, it’s interesting to ask the men you know, how do they really feel about the changes the women’s movement has wrought and which side of Time’s Up are they on?

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Handling Tough Situations or The Art of Compromise

Now that you know about my blog and will be tuning in (often, I hope) I’d like to write from another aspect of what I care about— connecting with others personally, and making it work in today’s emailing non-talking world.

So here are some ideas about handling tough situations face-to-face… Might be a little long-winded but it has lotsa really good approaches. Check it out. They can really help…

Who doesn’t ever need to make compromises in their lives? Whether it’s little ones like where we go for dinner or big ones like changes in your workplace, how you do your job or negotiating deals, there’s an art to getting what you want, compromising and doing it with some grace and style.

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The key to handling difficult situations successfully—ones that need some giving and bending– is this: learn to think through not only what your goals and needs are but concentrate on what the other person’s issues and targets are. Aim for “How can both of us come out with wins instead of ending with ‘I win, you lose’ “. This not only gets you to a solution quicker; it guarantees you a solution that will stick, with both sides feeling good about the end product.

Here are some basic approaches that can get you there:

  • Begin with a question. Define the issue before you start attacking what may not be the basic problem. Question with real interest in the answer. It helps de-fuse situations that can become accusatory and adversarial. Everyone needs to feel they’re being heard.
  • See and hear the problem from both points of view before you go off with your version and your solution. You’ll be surprised to hear a very different version of what you thought the issues were. Gives you a much truer focus for a solution
  • Engage the other person in arriving at a solution, rather than just giving the solution yourself. Asking for his/her solution gives you a chance to hear that person’s goals and needs right away. That gives you a chance to see where yours and his/hers fit.
  • Explain the situation using “I” not “You”.I must not have explained that well”  instead of “You got that part all wrong”. Instead of accusing, you’ll keep the dialogue going.
  • Present and explain your side without making eye contact! Placethe issue figurativelyon a table between you— talk about that down there. Eye contact is too hot- creates defensiveness, not hearing and understanding.
  • Edit what you say. Get to the point first, then add a few details as examples. We all talk too much at the start and the main point is lost. Refer to what the other person already knows before adding your point of view.
  • Add another question if you feel you’re losing attention. Problems only get solved in a dialogue, not a monologue.
  • Respect the other’s position. Lighten the atmosphere with a smile, give some respect for the other’s passion and point of view, show a positive attitude toward a solution– goes a long way.

Bottom Line: It always takes two to tango. Both must stay actively involved in order for anything to work out well between folks.

LIVE ON TOTAL PICTURE RADIO!

Visit me on Total Picture Radio discussing “How to Handle Criticism in the Workplace“.  Link to me on my podcast. I encourage you to comment, “Digg”, “StumbleUpon” and “Tweet”.

http://www.totalpicture.com/shows/success-strategies/sonya-hamlin-communication-podcast.html

Presenting Yourself Face to Face

As I enter into the blogosphere, I want to be extremely practical and useful. To write about something that both helps everyone become more effective and secure in their work and also brings some new information about that most powerful weapon—communicating. And is it ever a problem to many people—and now more than ever! So this blog is dedicated to that. Please join the conversation—let’s be honest about the problems you’re having, communicating-whether at work, at home or in relationships.

Here’s step 1.

Want to sell a product, an idea, a skill or you yourself? It can never happen electronically! No matter what, people finally want to hear it and experience it from you –live, in person. And here’s the problem: It’s really hard to holding people’s attention any more.  No one’s listening any more. They’re distracted, checking their blackberrys, their IMs, tweets, and sharing their mind-space is really hard.

SO–whether you’re talking to a client, an employee, a co- worker or  a supervisor, the old forms of communication – talking and listening – are becoming obsolete. Our new technologies- instant messaging, blogging, tweeting, facebooking—these are all about seeing information, not hearing it. We’re used to looking at, not listening to information.

But  one thing  hasn’t changed.

None of this has the impact of a face-to face presentation and encounter.

Fine. But now you know that our electronic short-circuit to selling and presenting yourself, makes doing it in person much harder. What can you do now to get and keep anyone’s attention face-to-face? What can make you a great live communicator these days?

To get and hold the attention of the person(s) you’re talking, here’s the secret:  focus on them and what they need, want, like, care about— not all about what you need—when you talk to them…

Great communicating is all about your audience—not you.

People are motivated by their own self-interest, first and foremost. So the sooner you can hook your message into what they want, like or  are worried about, what solutions can theyuse —the sooner you hook them into your message!!

You need to figure out what your audience wants and deliver that because the key question your audience will ask is “What’s in it for me? Why should I listen?”

And you must become not only more knowledgeable but also more  flexible and able to adapt your conversational style to your audience. Being aware of these changes can help you anticipate people’s needs, and make you and your message really effective, wherever you want it to make a difference.

So—I’m looking forward to hearing from you. What are you issues? Where do you get stuck? Who’s not listening to you???