Today’s broadcast was a Women in L&D episode (WiLD) featuring Melissa Lamson and host Valerie Sunyak.
Melissa is one of the world’s foremost intercultural consultants. As president and CEO of Lamson Consulting, she uses her decades of global expertise to help companies and business leaders cultivate a successful global mindset, bridge cultures, and achieve real results.
- Examples of the way women communicate that are different from men and where do the differences come from?
- What female executives tell you they struggle with most in the business world?
- Examples of specific actions women can take to pivot their own careers positively?
- And much more!
Audio only version is here:
Chat transcript is here: https://tldc.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/chat_030619.csv
And full episode transcript is below:
Valerie Sunyak 1:04
Good morning, everybody. Happy wild Wednesday. My name is Valerie Sunyak. And I’m happy to be here again for another webcast of wild women and learning and development. This is actually our sixth episode. And I’m happy to have Melissa Lampson as my guest this morning. And so we’ll dive into a great conversation with her. I feel like this can go longer than an hour. So we might have to have this part one. So before we get started, I just want to say that while is fueled by women, or everyone, so everyone is welcome. As part of our webcast. I don’t want this to be restrictive, just women. I think we all can share some great things with each other. Also, this is a no sorry zone. Unless you’ve truly done something really bad, then we hope you’ll say you’re sorry. But I always like to say it’s a no sorry zone. And we’ll kind of talk about that a little bit right, Bob, how sometimes women are conditioned to say sorry about things that they shouldn’t be sorry for. So what I want to do is I type this into the chat and I want to just share this before we start with Melissa. Let’s see if I can get this.
This is a book that Melissa has written. This is her latest book, The New Global Manager, it is available on Amazon. And maybe when we share your story, you can talk a little bit about the hashtag women, but the kind of no indication so so without further ado, quickly grab your cocktail, mocktail, coffee.
Whatever you feel like drinking wherever you’re located.
I don’t know, I’ve got my coffee. And I have my coffee and my water.
I kind of would
like to start off by kind of, if you share with all of us kind of your story and kind of where you have come from, and kind of where you’re at now.
Melissa Lamson 3:14
Yeah, no, I’d be happy to. And so
where have I come from?
I guess relevant to the topic. And I’ve always been really interested in women and empowering women. And I guess we’re also say girls, and was was always involved in activism around helping girls learn more about science and math and tack. And I thought that was, you know, always really exciting because that was unfortunately, the statistics show that they had less sort of confidence around those areas, not necessarily less competent. And so I was really interested in when I saw that to kind of build on that. And it really, I wanted to kind of transfer this into a career sort of my passion around women in leadership, as well as a culture diversity in general, was really a fascinating topic. And I started my career in the art world. And at the same time, I was doing a lot of volunteer work in various organizations like parents anonymous and peace in the Middle East, and all different kinds of things I was involved in. And I started to realize that that was actually more interesting to me, then the art world.
So I still collect art, and I love art, but it was just in general, as a career wasn’t as exciting as sort of helping people if you will. And so I thought I could either go in on the nonprofit level, or I could go into the corporate world and see how does the corporate world work in terms of inclusion and diversity. And so I started my career by getting a master’s in diversity management and went to work for a teacher me out I don’t know, who’s one of the founders of the field of cross cultural psychology. Oh, yeah. And so that was my background was cultural psychology. And then also understanding how cultural diversity works. And I was working for several companies like United Airlines and safe to Global Advisors in July, in Boston in the US. And then I saw that there was an opportunity to learn more about what was this topic internationally, because we were doing a lot of anti sexual harassment, we were doing a lot of cultural diversity training, but it was all in the US context. And while of course, that was very interesting. I was curious about what this was internationally. Yeah, so I had the opportunity to move to Germany. And to make a long story short, I was based in Germany for 10 years. And I was one of the only people there who was practicing diversity. And I had to, I was running two companies there, I had my cultural diversity business that was International. And then I had a diversity business that was based primarily in Germany and Europe. And we provided all different types of services and, and strategy development. So we help the German government set up their anti discrimination law, which is in practice today, with with the with corporations there. So it was a really interesting experience. And then I’m back to the US for personal reasons. And when I came back to the US, it was sort of like, interesting to figure out where I was going to position myself being a market that was, you know, flooded with diversity practitioners, you know, which, thankfully, I love that we have that there are so many of us and cross cultural practitioners. And so I really thought, Well, I have this global spin on it. So maybe that would be an interesting way to kind of identify and segment myself or differentiate myself in the market. So I talked about doing global leadership. And in that global leadership, one big pillar of what I do is to support companies creating more gender balance in their organizations. And then within that teach workshops, both for men and for women, I had to understand men and women. So that’s what I’m currently doing for about seven years.
Valerie Sunyak 7:06
Wonderful. And first, I want to address this question before I ask you another one. Somebody had asked, Where about in Germany? Where are you located?
Melissa Lamson 7:15
I was in Berlin and then Humbert and then Frankfurt.
Valerie Sunyak 7:18
Yeah, and then somebody said, Berlin’s my favorite city,
and it’s amazing. So,
and so I just wanted to kind of comment on that on the Global Diversity. And I think that is, is huge. So, actually, I work for a company that was recently acquired by an Indian company. So in the world of work, I’ve never worked for a company that was acquired by, you know, another company in Europe. So things are very much changing. And so we need to look at things very much globally.
so I’m just interested, because you said, you kind of it started out in kind of the world diversity,
what differences are you kind of seeing from when you started out to now?
Melissa Lamson 8:07
Yeah, well, as a great question, and I think it’s really on point for our topic. And it was much more
I don’t know, binary, a multi what’s the word for multi narrative. So it was very much about this culture, and that gender and this sexual orientation. And this age, we talked a lot about sort of categories. And I think it was important to me that because it had never really been discussed before, back when I started when I really started in the beginning of the diversity movement, if you will. And I think it’s important to understand where the specific concerns issues, successes, opportunities within segmented groups, or specific groups that have been either disadvantaged, the marginalized or discriminated against. So what’s been interesting is to see the conversation really evolved to how do we talk about bias in general, whatever the person’s categories that they belong to, what what how am I relating to that, that person as an individual? And how do we really try to move away from categories. And in terms of this is the way the Germans always do things, or this is the way women always do things, or this is the way right, the boomers do things, how do we move away from that, but still honor it. And that’s what’s really been interesting in the work that I’ve been doing lately is, you know, to have that conversation about how multifaceted each individual is, and what piece of that is important to them about their identity. So anyway, it gets very complex, but I think that’s really the trend
that I’ve seen.
Valerie Sunyak 9:53
But are there also what we would call archetypes. So there are archetypes for certain cultures kind of coming from a German culture. I think there’s some archetypes of
so can you kind of talk about archetype. I know, I’m probably getting off in a different direction, but different because there’s a stereotype and there’s an archetype. Maybe
Melissa Lamson 10:14
that’s right. That’s a good point. So the way I look at it, so in my book, I mentioned it. And then the way I teach it is, I talked about cultural dimensions. And I’ll say, so for example, I think there are four that are most critical or interesting for companies to look at, especially in global teamwork, and the of course, many, but I think these for pop up often, most often. And I look at the dimension from sort of a scale from one to 10 and say, Where does someone fall on that dimension. So it’s not that they’re absolutely flexible about time, or absolutely rigid about time. But we’re the tendencies and it’s interesting in doing this for 22 years to see the there’s a pattern, right, so I’ll ask multicultural groups, you know, where do you fall any of these, you know, nine times out of 10, if not more, that Germans will place themselves on being more rigid about time, maybe not extremely, but at least more so where people from India, for example, will save them more flexible about time. And again, this isn’t about good or bad, it’s just about where they see themselves right on the spectrum. And so I guess, to your point about archetypes, I think there are tendencies and trends, for sure. Within cultures. And then, of course, it depends on how much OK, so the reason why I talked about the model first, or the dimensions first is I want people not to say, you know, people from India are this, but I want them to say, okay, there is this dimension around time, rigidity and flexibility. Now, the person that I’m interacting with, how do they fit into that model? So that instead of stereotyping someone, immediately by saying, Oh, I learned that people from Germany are rigid. So now I’m interacting with a German, so I know that they’re rigid, or I’m going to label them as rigid. I’d rather I know, the cultural dimension. Now, how does this person I’m interacting with fit into it?
Does that make sense?
Valerie Sunyak 12:13
Yes, it does make sense and kind of putting it into the perspective of learning and development as practitioners, no matter what our role is, for a designer, developer instructor. Those are things we need to know, we need to be sensitive to those kind of cultural things. So being very us centric and thinking, Okay, the class starts on time, everybody needs to get here on time. And I’m going to, you know, that doesn’t always happen with people that may be of different cultures, that they’re going to be there right on time. That’s right. Lots of ourselves. Sure.
Melissa Lamson 12:50
And certainly, I think that’s the challenge to you’re managing a global team, we set the expectation, hey, I really like us all to be on time, right? Instead that as a guideline rule, and try to get buy in on that, or do you say, Well, I’m going to be culturally relative here and allow anybody to show put up with your walk you
because I’m being culturally sensitive. I mean, that’s, you know, that’s always the other interesting aspect. So I’m a big proponent of, you know, make your expectations clear, explain why it’s important for everybody to start on time, you know, talk to people individually about that, and, you know, negotiate it if you need to. But I think that’s I think it’s important for us to have guidelines and, and principles that we’re operating by, right. And I think what you said, expectations are huge. And I see that we see them less and less in business. And it only takes a couple moments to just set expectations. And there’s sometimes a lack of communication, because especially in the Western world, we are so focused on tasks, right, and getting things done that we sometimes don’t do the background work, right. So absolutely. So I kind of wanted to shift a little bit because this is another conversation, we could go off
Valerie Sunyak 14:09
a great topic, I love this so much. So like I said, if we can work it out, but we can come back with a part to that would be amazing. But I kind of wanted to shift it a little bit more to women. And by the way, Friday is I want to throw this in here International Women’s Day. So let’s throw that out there. So what are some of the examples, Melissa the way women communicate that are different from men? And we talked a little bit about where those differences might come from.
Melissa Lamson 14:36
Yes, so originally, I’m gonna start with that first. Originally, I used to teach brain differences, which was something that came out of research at Harvard was doing and they talked about how men and women are wired differently and that’s why women perhaps a better multi taskers and men are better model task or
or why we sort of think about everything all at once and how it all links together and then compartmentalised, right, and then a good friend of mine, Phyllis Diller periods, she might actually be on the cast, but she’s been working at Stanford in the work life balance to heart, She’s the director there, and she she was have letting me know, by the way, you know, she originally said Stanford is finding that there are no brain differences between men and women. And so the research today I’m leaning towards not that our brains actually aren’t different. And there’s still a lot not known about the brain. But the way it’s playing out is that it’s really all about socialization and expectations. And the way that we’re rooms when we’re young, right, or the images we’re seeing on TV, and so forth. And so I can’t say for sure, oh, also, in terms of culturally, there’s some interesting studies where they found that they thought that meant we’re always the hunters. And they would go out, you know, hunting for the communities back in the day. And they would wear these big heavy boots, and they were carrying heavy animals on their backs. And that’s why they were finding these giant footprints. And so they kind of assume that these were men were outcomes. And that’s why men have the sense of focus. And women have the sense of sort of caretaking back in the community. And actually, they found that maybe that’s not true, even in fact, these big shoes a lot of women would wear because they were carrying big baskets full of all the community resources and food and maybe even children on them. And so they may be special boots so that they could just support all of that and that maybe these footprints were actually women’s interesting. So there’s, yeah, there’s all this new data that’s kind of saying, Well, how we looked at all this stuff through gender bias, that is potentially and it may not necessarily be the case. Having said all that, doing this for the amount of years that I’ve been doing it and I think there’s a lot validity to the great books that have come out the confidence code is an excellent book, I still think that some Sheryl Sandberg state is really relevant. And obviously barber anus is done a lot of gender research. That’s, I think, still very valid. So
So to answer your original question about differences, what I see play out in companies today, most I would say most commonly is this women needing harmony, a sense of harmony, and a sense of community and collaboration that that their language really supports. So we use a lot of words and phrases. And we talk a lot about how reaching consensus and we want everyone to feel a part of the conversation and feel part of the decision. I mean, obviously, not every woman every time quite clear,
but especially when we’re working with other women, we want to create really a sense of harmony, and, and a good feeling of working together. And that’s not net as necessary for men. And of course, again, not all men all the time, but men are much more apt to kind of stay focused on topic and tasks and not worry so much about our Do we have consensus? Do we have harmony in the room? Are people feeling good about this decision? And in fact, they tend to really appreciate more of a hierarchical view. They like direction, they like to know who’s in charge, who’s making decisions, who’s executing that decisions, who do I follow, because that’s, that’s clear. And that’s efficient, and that’s passed for them.
So it’s interesting when you see those two things intersect. There’s an example in the confidence code, which I find really fascinating. It’s two professors and male professor, female professor. And they’re walking by there, the female professors assistant and the assistant happens to be also a woman. And when they walk by the professor says, Oh, hey, when you get a chance there, I’d really appreciate it. If you might consider just throwing this out there if it’s not too much trouble, because I really like this before my meeting at two o’clock, and it really helpful I appreciate it. And they walked on down the hall. And of course, these is a sure I’d be happy to when they walk down the hallway and the male Professor system or, you know, you’re not going to get any respect talking to her like that. And she says, we’ve talked about, she says, that’s two weeks, and then just tell her what you want, and to really do a month and she said, No, no, I it’s really important for me to talk to her like that, because I wanted to be a part of the team, right? And partners in this not that she’s working. And he just looked at her confused, like, it didn’t make any sense.
One other interesting comment is the word help. I’ve just recently had a bunch of conversations with men about this. And you can literally say something you can literally see men look either confused or kind of ripples
Valerie Sunyak 20:12
say that. I know I say that. I don’t know about some of the women in in the chat. Yeah,
What can I help you with a man that yesterday, my coworker, what can I help you with? And it was dead. Silence.
Melissa Lamson 20:27
It’s islands. Yeah, that’s right now depends, of course, on demand. And if you’re used to it, if you have, of course, all that. But it’s funny, because I’ll notice that if I say if I use the word help, sometimes it’s just test. It still works. It’s still correct, but I’ll use it and I won’t get assigned. I won’t get an answer, just like your experience. And then maybe 15 minutes, half an hour, few hours later, my male colleagues will come back to me or male client will come back to me and say, so I was thinking about this tonight. I want to kind of run it by you. And he’ll jump right into whatever it is that basically I asked him if he needed help on and essentially it’s like, I couldn’t say yes, I need help. Because that just didn’t, didn’t compute with him. But he didn’t need help. He needed to reframe in his own words, and come back to me and say, Hey, could could I run something by you? Could we walk this through together? And that was his version of basically accepting help, if you will.
Valerie Sunyak 21:33
Yeah. Or sometimes I say, How can I support you with that? Probably sounds so does that sound weak? I don’t know, as a woman does that.
Melissa Lamson 21:43
Well, what what I’ve understood from him, because I do met workshops with men. And I asked them all the time, because I’m dying, right? But they, they see, it makes them It sounds like they’re a little kid. And it makes them feel like, Well, yeah, I’m not an idiot, of course, I can help you. Because I know how to do something, or it makes them feel we, if we ask them if they need help. So they, you know, in, especially in a business context, it’s kind of all about who’s cool, who’s strong, you know, it’s much more
I’m not saying this is necessarily a corporate culture, culture in a company that we want to support. And that we want to carry on,
but, but just to understand that the impact of the way you communicate, still has a certain effect, right? Whether it’s on women or men, I mean, we know this to like, we, as women can be really, really critical, not only ourselves, but really critical of other women. And it may be also men, but there, you know, just lots and lots of studies that we’ve seen, the emails were the two colleagues which email names, and the woman was sending emails out as a man and, and vice versa. And they had these incredibly different experiences and reaction from customers. So we just carry all these biases, biases, and, and, and perceptions in our brain. And when certain words pop up, you know, it makes us feel like, you know, whether it’s, we’re taught, whether it’s a man or a woman speaking.
Valerie Sunyak 23:18
Yeah, and it’s interesting, because I consider kind of my personality, a strong personality, where I will ask or tell some, maybe, let me go back, tell more than ass. And as a woman, I feel like maybe I shouldn’t do that. Because then as a woman were called a bit, so how do we,
Melissa Lamson 23:43
yes, be strong,
Valerie Sunyak 23:44
but not we don’t want to be a bitch. So yeah,
Melissa Lamson 23:49
that’s right. I think it’s really important. That’s why I think it’s really important to build individual relationships and set expectations and say, Look, I really like to, to, like own own if you’re a more direct person. And if you’re more of a, so, you know, I showed these gender characteristics. And then I say, you know, of course, especially, you know, in certain industries, you know, and I work a lot of tech women, the women who are in tech they’ve been working with men studying with men living working with for forever. So a lot of them kind of by nature have these more direct styles, they have more focused conversations, they’ll be more of a tell style than an asset. And, and then if they’re operating in different contexts, they might come across as being more a tough, right, or maybe not as as approachable and so I usually coach them, he just kind of Own your style, but make it make it obvious to people and make it make your expectations clear. So say, Hey, this is my style. And my personality, I’m a little more direct, but don’t take it personally, I don’t mean anything by it. And in fact, you might get accustomed to it. And you’ll see how fast we can get things done without a lot of words, what you’re saying
Valerie Sunyak 25:03
that because I’ve started to do that, yeah, we got have start, just say, like, I just started a new job. I said, some my co workers, if I don’t come in and say, Good morning, good morning to you right away, it’s Please don’t be offended, I get so focused, that I go right to what I need to do. And then 10 minutes later, I’ll be okay. So I don’t. And I started doing that. When I start a project with people really talking more about how do we work together and communicate.
Melissa Lamson 25:33
Yeah, and I would also challenge that a tiny bit, too. And that I would say, most of the successful women I know, do work really hard. Like, they come in to the office, right. And they I know, this is not funny, but I think it’s way, but they come into the office, and they just heads down and just working, working, working, working. And they are very task oriented. And it’s not that I would actually say that more women I know, need
or don’t need. Hi, good morning to chat, you know, soft talk and all that kind of stuff. They’re really actually very task focused at work and very busy. And actually, I think that might be hurting us sometimes. Because if you and I see this all the time
to who’s in the coffee corners? Who’s around the water cooler? Who’s if
you’re at a cool tech company? Who’s playing ping pong? Who’s playing in the arcade, right? Who’s out walking around on the campus. You see men all the time socializing, networking, drinking coffee, right? And women are running around like crazy people. Because we’re so we are basically, but we also are such a perfectionist, it’s so important for us to get everything done. Yeah, we want to do it all ourselves, right? And because we’re very task oriented that way, that in some ways that hurts us because that does exclude us from some of those conversations that we need to have. So the reason why I’m bringing that up is I don’t think they actually your if you need that you come in and don’t talk to any you know, and say, Look, if I don’t say hi, that’s I’m just because I’m focused that I want to get stuff done. But actually, they kind of start to think, Wow, who should I be networking with a little bit, or to check with a little bit of when I walked in this money? Elizabeth Gilbert, the woman who wrote Eat, Pray, Love. Oh, I love Elizabeth Gilbert.
Valerie Sunyak 27:21
Melissa Lamson 27:22
So I speak at an event here in Phoenix. And she she said, you know, the one woman you don’t just one part, one word you don’t associate with women? Is the word relaxed. And I was like, Oh, my gosh, that’s so accurate. Right? And, and I think this, but you see that men often at least give a, a perception or a an attitude of being relaxed, right? in the workplace, particularly the higher up they go.
Valerie Sunyak 27:51
But do you think, Melissa that a lot of that has to do with that many of us are juggling a lot of plates. So regardless of whether we’re mothers, we’re still juggling plates, because we still have these expectations. Yeah, outside of work of what is a woman’s job, and what is a man’s job? And everything just kind of flows together. So in many ways, I think it’s difficult for women to take on that relax. Yes. Because men seem seem to be and again, I’m, we’re talking in generalizations, yes, focus on work. And that’s kind of the way they’ve been raised is they
work, you know,
Melissa Lamson 28:32
great work, getting things done, take care of it. All right, don’t ask for help. A lot of us are really bad at delegating.
And it’s, it’s interesting, and
there’s so much I could say about this topic. So so I just saw this article in the American Bar Association about why women associates aren’t making partner and made me so upset, because three out of the five main statistics they quoted or pieces of data, they quoted to why this was the case. Three of them. One was primary childcare,
had primary responsibility for childcare had primary responsibility for cooking dinner. This was literally what they said is one of their primary data points that came out of this, and then
was the other one
anyway, I can’t remember. But they were all kind of home related or outside of work related me crazy, because I thought what this is, yes, there’s discrimination. Yes, they have to fight stereotypes and perceptions, in in, in a law firm or in the workplace. But these three things, I’m like, we can manage those.
Yeah, delivery service, tell your partner cook, if you have a partner, get your kids to cook, if they are, if they’re old enough to, you know, I mean, it was just amazing to me when it when I, when I saw that, and, you know, tell the childcare, people stop calling me sometimes you got to call the other person who’s respond or whatever. I mean, obviously, there’s a lot of single
parents so subtle
as possible, but because she’s fascinating to see, you know, we’re such incredible leaders and managers in the workplace, need to get better at doing pet at home as women, if the data is showing up like this. I mean, to me, this data shouldn’t even be there anymore, as reasons why we’re not being a partner in a law firm.
Valerie Sunyak 30:37
I feel like my mother was kind of ahead of her time, because she always told me, she ran her home, like a business or, yeah, this is still me, I run with this home, like a business. And I mean, she was very financial savvy, financially savvy, and investing and all of that. So she taught me those things. But, you know, that brings up a whole I’m opening another can of worms, you know, just reading recently, I think it was yesterday, you know, the news broke that with Jeff Bezos of Amazon that the mama zone Ian’s, as they’re called a group of women are, you know, positioning for daycare. But what was interesting is why is it just a group of women?
Melissa Lamson 31:17
Valerie Sunyak 31:18
because not just women, raise children. We have gay couples, we have men raise children we have and I thought that was kind of interesting kind of perpetuating that kind of thing. Myth again, that, you know, things the world has changed, whether we like it or not, we’re not back in the Pioneer times.
Melissa Lamson 31:38
Valerie Sunyak 31:39
Melissa Lamson 31:41
yeah, that’s an excellent, excellent point. Valerie. I think what I really fundamentally see as is a sense of responsibility and I would even go so far as to say build women for whatever reason live with a lot guilty feelings. This is I think, why would say we’re sorry, a lot. This is why you say I feel the sentence I feel bad I hear that so much, particularly from young women are always feel bad. The snap. I mean, I had it. I had a woman from BMW call me about rehabbing my Carly’s and she’s new to sales. And she was and because she was so new the way she was talking to me. I say, well, that probably sounds like I should come in and talk to a salesperson but she had she had introduced yourself to sales per as a salesperson came in and talk to me because I’m a sales salesperson. And I knew I’m trying to build my portfolio. I said, Oh my gosh, yeah, of course. I love to talk to you. I didn’t realize that you were salesperson issue. Oh, I feel bad. Yeah, not very assertive yet. But, you know, hopefully I’ll get better. I spoke to myself. Oh, no,
no, will you be my coaching clients,
right. And, and I really appreciated that she was open about it, right. But that phrase just always wins. Right? I feel bad. So I think we will feel a lot of responsibility. A lot of field my sister in law. Another story. I tell she, she works. She’s in a leadership role at in alumni at Harvard University. And she works with the president of Harvard and so forth. And she’s got this amazing job and and, and she has two kids. And I’m when I’m listening, I’ll see your officer at like midnight, making homemade brownies, cupcakes, or something like what do you do? You’re up at 430. you’re traveling around with the President Carter
this incredibly high powered job, you have to get over on the stage at Harvard graduation. What do you do big
make sure that he has the right you know, something to school
by them cupcakes the same way the kids don’t even notice like what’s
sense of responsibility, setting duty, etc. So I don’t know how we shape that or modify that. And I also really love it about us that we have that sense of responsibility because you know, often and men status to me all the time, if I could, if I put a project in a woman’s hands, she’s going to get it done.
And for good or for bad. They don’t get that stuff those projects to us. But there is an appreciation for being for being on point and getting consent and working hard. But I think there’s something about letting go of the guilt a little bit. We need to be
Valerie Sunyak 34:33
well, I think this is where to mentorship is so important. So, you know, looking back again, at the Pioneer days, you know, women would get together and they would make a quilt. So that was kind of how they had unity was they would all sit in a circle. They would talk they would do and and with our modern kind of communities. I don’t think women are doing as good of a job at doing this with each other. And I think especially as divisive as things have gotten,
even generationally, you know, we are not. We’re calling people millennials and baby putting labels on people who are just people and we’re women, young women were middle aged women, older women, that there’s really good opportunities, even for cross mentoring. And that’s where I think that’s so helpful when we can have somebody say, you know what, I experienced that same thing. And it’s interesting, because this week, I was talking to women of different ages. And when I was younger, I was petrified to walk into a room with a bunch of men that scared me. I thought I was alone. And I talked to young women and older women. They said, Yes, me too. You know, that was kind of scary. And I didn’t know how to communicate. And I just kind of, you know, sat down in the chair. And so, you know, now I through experience, I’ve gotten a lot more confident we can share that with younger women. What did I do, right? To kind of overcome that, and maybe having an older woman who feels more confident saying, Do they want to come on into the room, let’s sit here something like, you know what I mean, communicating that?
Melissa Lamson 36:16
Yeah, that’s right. I think mentorship is critical. And it makes me kind of sad, because I hear a lot at will I do this internationally. And I hear it more outside of the US that women don’t necessarily feel like women support them. And they actually prefer to work with men, especially the younger women, because they feel as though there’s a lot of jealousy or there
Valerie Sunyak 36:40
all the time.
Melissa Lamson 36:41
Yeah, and especially now, I think there’s a trend in some organizations where they’re trying to hire a lot of younger folks into the organization.
And this, of course, this is this, but I really like to see us look, start to look at that as can how can we mentor each other better? How can we support each other better? Because the reality is, is that the more we support each other, the more benefit, the more the opportunities that will all get access to
Valerie Sunyak 37:14
that most definitely. Yeah, I wanted to kind of look here in the chat. I’m going to scroll up a little bit to make sure that I’m addressing it looks like we have some great conversations, but being task oriented.
Yeah, I think that Laura, I saw something earlier, wanting to dress this kind of how we can support other women. And Laura helped me if I’m not getting this, right. When we hear somebody kind of communicating in a way that’s not helpful, or that doesn’t,
I’m just trying, Oh, she says, How do we support other women, when we observe these behaviors,
Melissa Lamson 38:00
behaviors that are kind of jealousy? And
Valerie Sunyak 38:04
maybe work and type in here? You could? Laura
what it could I don’t know if it was behaviors, or maybe saying I’m sorry, or something? Maybe show?
Melissa Lamson 38:21
So depending on the context.
Valerie Sunyak 38:24
Oh, she said, she’s referring to constant apologizing, you’re asking for help.
Melissa Lamson 38:28
Yeah. Laura, thank you for clarifying had to mention. I mean, I think it’d be interesting to refer to some of the research so that
I mean, I, you know, I love I love using the feedback framework where you really talk, speak to what is your intention for getting this person feedback, and then talk about what you’ve observed factually, and then talk about the impact and then really share with that person, what is the impact how that’s been supported by data. So there’s a new book out there, and I was just looking to the author’s name, I feel bad, they can’t remember it brand new, but she talks about gender energies. And it’s really interesting that she talks about all of the Oh, yeah, situation, hear your feedback is also a great model. So using for giving that feedback so that they really understand what your intention is around that feedback. And then also supporting that with the latest research that have been coming out whether it’s the confidence code, or this book that’s around gender energies. There’s also another book what men don’t tell women about business, which is very controversial, but very interesting book that shows really the perception of men, but hardcore perception. So just I put a little disclaimer there, because it’s a tough have to read.
But would you read it, you go, Oh, my gosh,
and so the so I think just having those feedback conversation and making it clear that it’s not you it’s like, what is true of the dynamics between men and women?
Valerie Sunyak 40:08
I love those words of us gender energy, can you talk a little bit more about that gender energy
Melissa Lamson 40:14
that, yeah, I wish I invented it. And I, you know, if it’ll come to me, her name will come to me, or maybe some can multitask and look up the name of this author. But it’s a new book that’s come out. And it’s kind of think if I remember the title, but in you remember later, you can email me or I’ll check with you. And I can put it in Slack channel to and essentially what she’s trying to do is get away from this really binary way that we’re talking about gender where men are like this, and women are like this, or that we that we are like that. And she tries to say, these are the energies that we’ve been kind of conditioned with, and that they’re not bad. And then it’s actually good to have both energies in an organization. Because, you know, as you know, there are a lot of companies that also we’re hiring more women into sales positions are more women into call center, because we’re really great at listening and coaching and ask them questions. And that’s like, natural for us, for many of us. And so capitalizing on female and male energies in our organization, is what she talks about, which I think is really great. And then, you know, having men be really tougher in negotiations, or, and being more comfortable with that, and not being afraid to be hated, or having a fight in a meeting, and then go out with the same person afterwards and play soccer, or, or have a beer and there, you know, there’s just these qualities which she reversed his energies that I think are It was really an interesting way to look at it.
Valerie Sunyak 41:42
Yeah, yeah, it is. So I’m thinking, again, kind of bringing it back around, you know, to learning and developing and developing, for instance, e learning. And I would really like to kind of talk about, so you do have some background in instructional design, right?
Melissa Lamson 42:01
Valerie Sunyak 42:01
Yeah, instructional design, how are we? And maybe this is something I would love with the group and chat with share with us, you know, how are we perpetuating some of these myths in our E learning? And how are we challenging some of those communications? Because I see sometimes in E learning, you know, if we’re doing something in a conference room will put the kind of strong energy on the man made or character maybe talking to Zoe, can we talk a little bit about that? Or maybe you have some thought? Yeah,
Melissa Lamson 42:38
yeah, that’s a really good point.
I mean, I think we just like,
it’s funny that you said that because I, I realized, like, I just put together a presentation that I’m doing later today. And I looked at a couple of the images I was choosing, and I just consciously always say, Oh, I need to have a good mixture of men and women, I want to the mixture of ages, I want to have a good mixture of cultures. And so I think if we can just have that be integral to the way that we design, right, just constantly thinking, what kind of diversity Do I need to be showing here? am I showing any kind of bias here? In terms of who’s leading an email? Who’s taking notes in a meeting? Or who’s right or Who’s speaking? I guess it’s fascinating to me, because I think sometimes positively, maybe, I don’t know, let’s say that exactly. But I’ve heard that the reason why, for example, series voices a woman is or by default is because men will be more comfortable taking advice from a woman. And so and women are also okay with taking advice from women. So that’s part of the reason why that’s the way that is,
so I guess I would just say, just ensure there’s so much to say, want it, but just constantly check in, right? And I do that I just do that naturally, we’re just because I want to make sure my being sensitive to my audience, right. And I cover all my bases as much as I can.
Valerie Sunyak 44:12
It’s the first step I think, is really being aware. And it’s really using critical thinking. And I think a lot of it, too, is being open to conversation. So sometimes we’re afraid to maybe bring that up with somebody who’s of, you know, different skin color or different culture because we don’t want to offend them. Yes,
Melissa Lamson 44:39
Valerie Sunyak 44:40
we’re so with women. We don’t want to offend people, many of us, and sometimes I think people I found are more than happy to share that, you know, if I’ve done like, peer review with somebody who’s India, you know, can you peer review this, do you feel that this is something relatable to you? Or something like that?
Melissa Lamson 45:03
That’s a good point. Yeah, peer reviews, good. That’s a great idea. I was just thinking, even in terms of some colleagues, circles, certainly, I find it interesting that my, I observed that we often hang out with people in organizations that are sort of like us, they might be similar ages, certainly similar backgrounds, right? We just gravitate naturally to people who are like us. And so sometimes we forget that while we have a whole organization out there, which is probably pretty diverse, that we could tap into, you might even have affinity groups in your I mean, sometimes tough, you know, learning and development is sort of separate from diversity and diversity, and then separate from HR. So these are like, three different departments. But if you can tap into diversity, and say, Look, can I just hang out with your affinity groups, or the leaders of your affinity groups and run this project by them so that I can get some input, you know, am I am I looking through this window been fined, or, you know, multiple lenses?
Valerie Sunyak 46:03
Yeah, I purposely put myself in situations of people very different than me. And I know we’ve talked about mentoring on during this webcast for and I said, look for somebody who’s very different from you, to mentor you, again, we look for people who are like us, those are the people that we learned from branding. Somebody here in the chat said something, I think it was, Laura said that, and thank you, Laura, for sharing the link to what men don’t tell women about business. She says, I have a client that has a very female oriented product, get a lot of male employees, and this entire style died for various shades of pink, you know, what is the same to the males who are taking the course? So we’re even going beyond that thinking color.
Melissa Lamson 46:51
Valerie Sunyak 46:54
and what does that because we’re talking about communication. What does that communicate?
Melissa Lamson 46:59
Yeah, this colors.
Valerie Sunyak 47:01
Melissa Lamson 47:02
yeah, I this super interesting conversation with a friend of mine. So he happens to be a gay man, and just developed a website, and he’s got tons of things in the website. And he’s, he’s a business consultant. And I can show this to a couple people people reacted very harshly, especially women telling him, you got to get the pink out of there. I mean, no one wants to look at pink ice cream and pink stuff in there in a professional website. And so we started doing research on pink, the color paint, and apparently it was the color of a of aristocrats. And you were considered extremely important. And mostly males were wearing pink because it was like this whole
sign of power and prowess, etc. Back in the day. And so now, I I said, you need to really kind of reimagine
bring that all back, right, right? Because that would just kind of throw everything on its head today. And I think it’s such a relevant conversation, right to how are we being binary about colors. And in fact, it’s funny, because I also just learned that blue was originally the color for girls. And pink was originally to call it for boys. Really, that’s fascinating. Yeah, I just found that out. And I’m not getting all my facts perfect in this. But I think when it was when, when toy stores started to separate out girls and boys sections. And so now it’s actually society. I think this happened in the early 80s. And so what was that about it is that, you know, now when kids go into a store, they have to pick a side to go look at, you know, I’m a girl. So I should go to the girls side, or I’m a boy.
And that’s it’s not, that’s not really cool. Would be nice if you could just go over to all side. But anyway, originally, you know, with a group of girls and boys, and then for whatever reason was the choice for starting to separate thing just, they mixed it up and sort of an accident. And they chose pink for girls or boys. And then it’s been that way ever since.
Valerie Sunyak 49:14
Yeah. So that, again, goes back to it’s really all about conditioning,
Melissa Lamson 49:19
Valerie Sunyak 49:20
And how we communicate and, and all of that. So I wonder, as we continue with different generations, how that’s kind of evolving, I mean, it already is evolving with gender differences, not just men, not just women, right? So find that fascinating. Oh, I see. So
what I wanted to kind of talk a little bit about in our time left is what are some specific actions because I think we really want to, I really want to have people take things away from this, what are some of the specific actions women can take to pivot their careers positively, and kind of utilize communication in a positive way to,
you know, move their careers forward?
Melissa Lamson 50:10
Yeah, so one of the things I teach something called the three s method
Triple S. So it’s situation solution support.
And what I see is that with women, one of the things let me say this, when I asked men, what’s one of what are what are I used to have them get up and write on a flip chart? What are all the things we think about women and so forth?
Valerie Sunyak 50:44
And can you share some of that?
Melissa Lamson 50:47
Yeah, I’m going to share my top three are confusing, talk too much, and manipulative, really,
usually the top three, or for sure, in the top three, and what I think all three of those are really about the amount of words that we use when we’re talking and also the way we use words. So men tend to be and again, this is really general. So please don’t throw tomatoes at me, virtually
tend to appreciate really direct communication. So instead of saying, hey, when you get a chance to decrease, take out the trash, and really appreciate it, because it really sells though, right? Just Hey, take out the trash, when you get a second appreciate it, you know, just really direct
and we just don’t always communicate that way as women. So what I try to do is say, look, if you’re asking for a raise, if you’re trying to convince a man to buy a product, if you’re trying to convince your manager about an idea, try situation. Solution support, which is one sentence situation, one sentence, the solution. And then most important, particularly with what is the actual thing you want them to do. So what the other thing that happens is, is that I will say, so, for example, I might say to you, Valerie, hey, you know, I was really thinking about changing jobs,
or I start with the situation, I am really bored. I’m not sure what to do next. But I was thinking about changing jobs. So situation is on board solution is I want to change jobs as a woman, you would immediately start saying, oh, what are you interested in? And what do you think you could do? And what else would you like, and we get into this whole conversation and some kind of a support, meaning an action item would evolve out of that conversation, potentially, maybe multiple actions. If I do that with a man board. And,
you know, I’m kind of thinking about changing jobs, especially if I’m doing that to my manager, a man will typically go Okay,
and if he’s good at listening, you may listen to me well at that in that moment, me and then I’m going to leave that meeting possibly either feeling that he didn’t listen if he’s not necessarily good at listening and be did listen, but I’m going to be excited, because he’s probably going to help me with with some kind of a solution or support, right, or action around finding a new job.
But because I never been on go back two weeks later, and he’s like, so what’s up? And I’m like, Well, I’m still thinking about a new job. And he’ll go what, okay, so how you how you coming on that. And my intention is to get him to offer me some kind of specific solution that are specific support on that. And basically, I’m not getting it because I haven’t asked for it. So better way to do it is for me to say, I’m bored. I’m looking for a new job. Could you introduce me to three people in the organization that could help them from that might be interesting for me to get to know to explore new opportunities, right? Or Could you recommend me for this position with this team? Because I saw what they’re doing? It’s pretty interesting. So as specific as we can be about asking for support from a man the better chances are that we’re going to get it
Valerie Sunyak 54:10
so being less vague. Sometimes I think women using a lot of words, again, being vague, instead of getting right to the point, right bullet, point it
Melissa Lamson 54:21
right, exactly more buy this product or recommend this product or recommend me to it’s been interesting because I’m in the middle of doing business development because my organizations in high growth
and I’ve been talking to a lot of men, and I’ve had to really refine my pitch to say, I’d like an introduction, so and so I’d like you to consider me for that. I like to introduce me. Yeah. So, but it’s really it’s challenging for me, because I’m so used to having a much more collaborative conversation, a lot of women and not
Valerie Sunyak 54:53
even saying, I’d like I was saying, Can you introduce me to somebody?
Melissa Lamson 54:58
That’s right. Good point. Yeah.
Valerie Sunyak 55:00
Because I’d like you to, or could you please, or lie again, have this like, sorry, it’s almost like Sorry, I’m asking you for this hell, you’re right. Yeah. And, and I think that’s where the difficult thing is, we are women, we there are differences. We want to kind of maintain those differences. And just kind of thinking myself, I’ve always been very direct, but society is kind of pulled me back or my family’s pulled me back, or my mother’s pulled me back saying, You can’t behave that way, all these different messages,
and how do we work through that? How do we,
Melissa Lamson 55:42
I wish I had the answer. I just keep promoting in my workshops with women. I do networking and career advancement strategies with women and the biggest messages, look, we’re going to learn a bunch of stuff here. But the key thing is that we just keep trying to be find our authentic selves and position in organizations that I think we have a moral responsibility as women to take leadership positions. That’s why when I hear women holding themselves back from those leadership positions, because of time or not sure, fear, whatever, the please go for it. Because the more women we have a leadership, the more authentic we can bring ourselves table. Right.
Valerie Sunyak 56:18
so any kind of Final thoughts, we have about four or five minutes left on kind of what we’ve talked about today, or kind of some of the things we can go out and maybe work on today?
Melissa Lamson 56:36
Well, you know, it’s interesting, I think, you know, whenever, especially coming back to design, right, and, and instructional design, I think whenever you can have a diverse perspective, like, I’d love to see companies start to have gender balance, or gender equity, or whatever you want to call it, groups that are working on what is it need to be men and women in leadership positions together, I love to see the the women’s leadership groups, which I think are very important. I’m not saying the art, but I’d love to see either In addition, or see those transform to be to include more and yeah, and then working together in those because I think if we can start to have those really honest conversations where we see where men are vulnerable, because the cool thing about doing workshops with men is by the end of day one, and day to day to the men are just like writing down everything I’m saying, because they’re so vulnerable, and they’re like, wow, I had no idea that I was hurting someone, or interrupting someone, or take a long words, you know, how I see that I’m gonna practice that at home. Right.
And I think that’s, that’s really important that we understand their vulnerability. They understand ours, that we find some common ground, right, and, and be able to, to work on things together so that we can get this gentleman balance, gender or gender imbalance, gender inequity. And even worse, sadly, we’re hearing a lot about that Daily News remedies really need that that fixed Yeah,
Valerie Sunyak 58:11
and I shouldn’t even bring this up in the last couple of moments. But then there’s the me to move. But that’s having bad so that a lot of men in leadership positions don’t want to work with women, and are avoiding working with women, because they’re afraid that they’re going to be, you know, accused of something,
Melissa Lamson 58:31
and it’s going to be a huge loss to their business. Because just absolutely impossible to operate today without diversity, especially if the leadership level it just can’t, we will not be successful. So it’s going to be a huge loss to them. So I hope that they can get over it and start having some conversations with their girlfriends, wives, best friends to try to overcome that.
Valerie Sunyak 58:56
So I know the tech industry has been kind of highly has had a lot of issues with women in tech, what are some of your thoughts kind of around that or what you’ve seen or,
you know, how women kind of forge pass and jack
Melissa Lamson 59:15
Yeah, I mean, you know, a lot of women successful
in tech and which is cool.
But I think I think just to continue to, to say, I guess female leaders, I think what’s important, especially when they’re at the top is to remember that there are a lot of women in the organization that would would like to be able to do what they do. 87% of women are ambitious, which I think is important for people to know.
And so for just when you become a leader, to not forget it to your point, Valerie to mentor and support and create opportunities for other women.
Valerie Sunyak 59:55
So it looks like we are at time didn’t that go fast
Melissa Lamson 1:00:00
It did for me!
Valerie Sunyak 1:00:02
by the way. I like your shoes. We talked about that earlier that women have a tendency to do that. I love what you’re wearing. And then we go into business.
I love your shoes today
so much and for taking the time. I know you have a very busy schedule. You’ve been just an American gas Melissa and I hope we can maybe have you back and talk about this because this is a huge, huge subject but you have been a wealth of knowledge and just given us some great information.
Melissa Lamson 1:00:34
Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Love to come back and thanks everyone for listening and reading her
Valerie Sunyak 1:00:39
yes and good luck this afternoon. On your your presentation or afternoon. So everybody for coming and have a wonderful International Women’s Day on Friday and have a good rest of the month.
Thank you, everybody. Bye.
Melissa Lamson 1:00:59
All the best. Bye!