An Analysis of the Differences in Public Speaking Based on Gender

To answer the first question, the topic being discussed under report talk done by men versus rapport talk done by women is simply the distinction between the purpose of conversation by the respective genders. According to the author, women talk for purposes of establishing a connection or relationship. They strive to create a comfort zone where communication can be involving and easy for all those involved. They do not speak to seek attention, but are rather comfortable with private talk.

On the other hand, the text says that conversations carried on by men usually aim at making them stand out, or attain a higher status. Their communications seek to establish and preserve their independence. They do this by showing off their knowledge on subjects or being the center of attention. For this reason, men are usually much more comfortable with public speaking than are women.

On the women’s side, the author says “For most women, the language of conversation is primarily a language of rapport: a way of establishing connections and negotiating relationships. Emphasis is placed on displaying similarities and matching experiences. People feel their closest connections at home, or in settings where they feel at home – with one or a few people they feel close to and comfortable with-in other words, during private speaking” (Tannen, #77)

On the other hand, “…talk is primarily a means to preserve independence and negotiate and maintain status in a hierarchical social order. This is done by exhibiting knowledge and skill and by holding center stage through verbal performance such as storytelling, joking, or imparting information. From childhood, men learn to use talking as a way to get and keep attention. So they are more comfortable speaking in larger groups made up of people they know less well – in the broadest sense, “public speaking.”” (Tannen, #77)

What the author is saying here is that women engage in conversation for the purpose of creating relationships and making connections. They strive to be inclusive rather than exclusive which means trying to get everyone’s opinion and point of view and not leaving anyone feeling left out. On the other hand, men strive to stand out or be recognized as superior. They want to be the center of attention and they want to show how much they know. Their security lies in how well they can impart knowledge unto others.

This view of male and female conversation is very true in my opinion. I have had countless occasions and encounters with guys who want to show that they know it all and girls who are willing to listen to another person’s point of view. In my opinion, this concept stems from the roles the society has given to man and woman. Women are generally the ones who look out for others, the nurturers. So it is in their nature to involve others as much as possible.

Men rather, go by an “every man for himself” policy because they are regarded as the stronger gender in a general sense, which they try to prove even in their conversations. I’ll take the example of my younger brother who is 16 now. He is very inconsiderate of the opinions of others because of his need to stand out and always be correct. This comes off as disrespectful and arrogant at times. In fact, especially in conversation between a men and women, men, in my opinion, sometimes have to learn to curb their desire for status.

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