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The Key to Effective Communication Skills in Events: Gender, Genes or Experience?

Last updated December 15th, 2017

A recent C&IT article discusses the benefits of being an all-female company in the world of event management, in the context that “women are generally better communicators” … something that really set us thinking here at Event Academy.
Now, we certainly agree that communication’s an essential skill for event managers, as our Senior Lecturer Martin Turner explains: “you need to be a phenomenal communicator, both written and oral, and be a good listener and observer”, and we’ve certainly seen some extraordinarily effective communicators here – including our directors and lecturers, who are all professional event managers – plus of course our students and alumni, across both genders.
So what do we think’s likely to hold the key to effective communication skills in events? Is it really as simple as issues of gender, or do genes and experience have a role to play too?

Gender

Of course, across many industries, particularly corporate ones, skillsets such as leadership, management, selling and communication have been studied for decades to identify if there’s a gender-bias. Such studies have presented evidence of females having enhanced communication skills, often based on the fact that they may use up to 20,000 words a day, compared to 10,000 from the average male (as discussed readily in other management blogs)
However, as with anything, it can be quality rather than quantity which counts, so although females may have a disposition to communicate more, does this also mean more effectively?

Genes

Something that sits outside of gender, but could still have a role to play in communicating effectively is whether it’s in our genes. Now, it’s impossible to consider this without bringing the old nature /nurture debate into question:

Because of course any genetic dispositions in the field of communication will certainly have been influenced by the backdrop to your growing up: whether you got a word in edgewise amongst those other garrulous communicators in your family and friends; or whether you were more inclined or encouraged to “keep quiet and listen” – which itself can certainly impact on communication skills, because those who tend to listen quietly more readily than contribute are still honing very effective communication skills.

Experience

When it comes to whether experience can help to create effective communication skills, the issue takes a new turn. Whether or not we believe that our general ability to communicate is influenced (consciously or subconsciously) by our gender or our genes, one of the biggest elements which can influence our ability to develop our communication skills and put them to effective use is our experiences.
All experiences across a lifetime, including any previous education, jobs or career will all inform the type of communicator you are – whatever your gender or nature. For instance, regardless of whether communication comes naturally to you or not, if you’ve been working:

Experience is generally all about a balance of skills, knowledge, and application: what you know and can do, compared with what you’ve yet to learn or develop effectively. Where a skill is undeveloped, perhaps because experience hasn’t allowed for this (as in that call-centre example, where you may not have been able to build up communication skills of pitching and presentation) it makes sense that skills can be improved and balanced through wider experience – something which is certainly achievable across genders and personality types.

In our experience?

Many students study event management with Event Academy and although the number of females does generally outweigh the males, we find it’s not gender that predisposes the more successful communicators – and more successful event managers generally – it’s more about having a willingness to get out there, out in the industry and gain as much experience as possible. After all, in our experience, effective communication skills isn’t just about ‘talking the talk’ it’s about walking the walk, through:

In the event …

So when it comes to event management, whatever your gender, and whether it’s in your genes or not, certain career backgrounds, event management education and event experience can certainly nurture your natural communication skills to a professional level. This is something that we’re really glad to let Nelson Macmillan, one of the male students on our latest Postgraduate Live course, communicate the last word on:

“… when it comes to communicating, people can become successful communicators if they understand what they are communicating for and how they define success. The Event Academy and volunteering [experience] undoubtedly helps all students on courses refine their style (communication and leadership) and doesn’t apply any gender related barriers. It’s all equal, it’s diverse, it’s all embracing and this is what I believe brings about the success students feel on courses with The Event Academy.”

And in the event, it’s this wider event experience that helps not just create effective communication skills, but also successful events professionals – whatever your gender!

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