The Reporter E-Letter – February 2015

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04Feb2015

The Reporter E-Letter – February 2015

  • Sheila Atkinson-Baker
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  Helpful Information for Legal Professionals
IN THIS ISSUE:
  • Professional Advancement and Gender Stereotypes:
    The “Rules” for Better Gender Communications
  • Why Our Brains Love Lists and How to Make Better Ones
  • Optimum Customer Service Skills
  • Workplace Cell Phone Etiquette – Seven Smart Tips
  • Document Management: Practice Good
    Time Management and Organization Techniques

From the President

Like you, we must have a keen eye for detail, make every deadline, stay on top of every project, and fulfill every client request, all the while keeping your needs as our highest priority.

We’ve been publishing The Reporter for over seven years now, and, thanks to your positive feedback over the years, we are even more determined to make it a very useful source of information for you.

To help us keep this about you, please email us and let us know what topics and subject matter you would like to read and/or learn more about. Maybe more scheduling tips? Or how about reading up on ways to make legal research easier? Or do you want more information on industry trends?

We want to provide you only with the information that you find valuable, and your input will make sure we are serving you in the best possible way.

Best regards,
Sheila Atkinson-Baker

 

Professional Advancement and Gender Stereotypes: The “Rules” for Better Gender Communications

By Andrea S. Kramer

In business and the professions it has now become commonplace to note that gender stereotypes powerfully affect women’s career advancement and often lead men and women to “talk past one another.” But the critical need to confront these stereotypes and find ways to help women to talk to — rather than past – men did not become clear to me until I served on my law firm’s Compensation Committee more than
10 years ago.

One of my responsibilities each year was to review several hundred self-evaluations written by my partners. Almost immediately, I was struck by how differently men and the women talked about themselves. There were such fundamental differences in the content and tone of the self-evaluations that I started to play a game: without looking at the partner’s name, I would write down whether I thought the self- evaluation was written by a man or a woman. I was never wrong. Another of my responsibilities was to review our senior lawyers’ performance evaluations of our junior lawyers. Again, I was struck by how differently senior male lawyers described the performance of the men and women who had worked for them.

My experiences on our Compensation Committee left me with no doubt that the advancement of professional women was being negatively affected by largely subconscious gender stereotypes and the communication differences that play into them. Since that time, I have been working to help women better navigate the rocks and shoals of career advancement created by these stereotypes. By and large I believe women can do this by mastering a few simple rules for gender communications. With that objective in mind, I have given dozens of speeches, webcasts, workshops and other presentations (mostly, but not exclusively, to women); I wrote an article entitled “Bragging Rights: Self-Evaluation Dos and Don’ts”; I put together a practical list of “Self-Evaluation Dos and Don’ts,” which has gone through multiple iterations; and I have edited close to 1,000 self-evaluations for female friends, colleagues, and strangers across North America. In what follows, I summarize my recommendations for professional women, lawyers, and others, about how they should think about gender stereotypes and the “rules” they need to follow to level the playing field in what I refer to as the “gender communication game.”

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Why Our Brains Love Lists and How to Make Better Ones
Learn how »

Optimum Customer Service Skills
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  • Workplace Cell Phone Etiquette – Seven Smart Tips Read them »
  • Document Management – Practice Good Time Management and Organization Techniques
    Read it »
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