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Why Cant You Communicate Like Me?

How Smart Women Get Results at Work

ISBN 0-9765659-0-0

By Laura Browne

Review by: Kim Conde

01/01/07

Why Cant You Communicate Like Me? is a brief, well-organized guide for women to communicating more efficiently at work by assessing ones preferred communication style. The author, Laura Browne, has spent over 18 years training on workplace communication and management skills; not strangely, the book reads much like an educational seminar.

Browne suggests that women communicate in one of four styles Bossy, Bubbly, Buddy, or Brainy which arise from a combination of ones preference for facts vs. feelings and action vs. thinking. The book begins with a quiz designed to help readers determine their own preferred style and subsequently provides detailed chapters outlining the strengths, weaknesses, and workplace implications for each of the four categories. Her goal, as expressed in the introductory chapter, is to help women better communicate with their colleagues. If you are communicating with someone who speaks a different language, Browne writes, you will get along better with her if you learn the language.

The book is diligent in its effort to provide clear, relevant descriptions and recommendations. Each section provides case studies examining how various communication styles might interact in the workplace so readers can quickly assess how Browne's suggestions might translate into their daily work-lives. As with many professional development works, Browne's book is an accessible, direct, quick-read with periodic nuggets of wisdom.

On a more disappointing note, the prose in the book is often stilted and sometimes campy. In a unique approach, Browne attempts to write each of the four sections in the corresponding preferred style. At times, this approach falls short. Bubbly reads like an online chat transcript (complete with smiley faces); Buddy reads like a long-winded teenage diary. Treatments of the fact-inclined sects, Bossy and Brainy seem to encourage a kind of sarcastic falsity (if you need to work with a Buddy type, you're going to have to develop a relationship with her. . . . It may seem like a waste of time). Additionally, at times Browne sacrifices clarity to form in order to maintain the style of a given section.

But despite these few complaints, Why Cant You Communicate Like Me? is a fine addition to literature on workplace communication. Women (and men as well) will benefit from Browne's discussion of female discourse and perceptions derived from affinities for action or fact. Browne's book is worth a quick read.

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