Nema Etheridge for GlobalAtlanta
German participants at a Sept. 8-10 trans-Atlantic women’s conference agreed with keynote speaker Connie Glaser’s assertion that communicating effectively with men was key to a woman’s ascension in the business world.
“If you want to be a player, you need to learn to have a voice at the table, and you need to get into the game,” said Ms. Glaser, an Atlanta-based gender consultant and author, who participated in the 2006 Crossing Bridges conference held here.
The conference, which was first held in Nuremberg, Germany, in 2005, promoted international business ties and female entrepreneurship. Approximately 15 Nuremberg-based businesswomen attended this year’s conference.
Sponsored in part by BellSouth Corp., Intercontinental Hotels Group PLC, International Business Machines Corp., Porsche Cars North America Inc. and R.H. Macy & Co., the conference was organized here by the Atlanta Women in Business association.
During this year’s conference, Ms. Glaser explained how the different communicative styles of men and women often lead to miscommunication in the workplace, which garnered support from German attendees.
She also said that women who have been most successful in what is still a male-dominated profession, have learned to communicate effectively with their men colleagues.
They avoid employing stereotypical female behavior, such as emotive facial expressions and exaggerated hand gestures that would cause them to be taken less seriously in the workplace, she said.
Because men are often less physically expressive in business environments, they can misinterpret a woman’s emotive gestures to represent weakness and uncertainty, she said.
Ms. Glaser also said that women have a tendency to use a tone of voice and sentence construction that seeks affirmation, which can cause them to lose the respect of their male colleagues.
She encouraged her mostly female audience to use more of a “pokerface” in the working world.
Miscommunication between men and women is not specific to the United States, Ms. Glaser told GlobalAtlanta after her presentation, noting that her books on gender communication have been published in German, Hebrew, Korean, Japanese and Mandarin.
After hearing her presentation, visiting Nuremberg businesswoman, Susanne Bohn agreed.
“I’m convinced that these business place differences are cross-cultural,” Ms. Bohn told GlobalAtlanta.
Ms. Bohn, a family therapist who started the German consulting company solvere nodum in 2000, first visited Atlanta in 2003.
Her visit, which involved meetings with some of the city’s highest-level businesswomen, was the impetus for the Crossing Bridges conferences.
While the conferences were designed to encourage best practice sharing among female professionals, they are also attracting business owners like Ingrid Hofmann, who is considering opening a U.S. branch of her temporary staffing agency I.K. Hofmann GmbH in Atlanta.
Ms. Bohn said she was first attracted to Atlanta because of its Sister City relationship with Nuremberg, which began in 1999.
While the Department of Education reports that women will make up 58 percent of the 16.7 million students entering U.S. colleges this year, they are still underrepresented at the highest echelons of business.
New York-based research group Catalyst, which promotes female leadership in the business world, reported that women only represented 16.4 percent of the corporate officer positions in Fortune 500 companies in 2005.
For more information on the Crossing Bridges conference, which included three days of workshops and networking sessions, visit www.crossingbridges.com.
For more information on Ms. Glaser, who does gender communication consulting with businesses across the country, visit
Learn more about Ms. Hofmann’s business at www.hofmann.info.
Contact Ms. Bohn at Susanne_bohn@solverenodum.de.
GlobalAtlanta profiled Atlanta’s Sister City relationship with Nuremberg in the April 7, 2006, article “Sister City Spotlight: Nuremberg, Germany.”