Renowned Relationship and Communication Expert,
Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University,
and Best-Selling Author
Deborah Tannen is University Professor and Professor of Linguistics at Georgetown University and author of many books and articles about how the language of everyday conversation affects relationships. She is best known as the author of You Just Don’t Understand: Women and Men in Conversation, which was on the New York Times best seller list for nearly four years, including eight months as No. 1, and has been translated into 31 languages. This is the book that brought gender differences in communication style to the forefront of public awareness.
Her books You Were Always Mom’s Favorite!: Sisters in Conversation Throughout Their Lives, and You’re Wearing THAT?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation were also New York Times best sellers. Talking from 9 to 5: Women and Men at Work was a New York Times Business best seller. The Argument Culture: Stopping America’s War of Words received the Common Ground Book Award; and I Only Say This Because I Love You: Talking to Your Parents, Partner, Sibs, and Kids When You’re All Adults received a Books for a Better Life Award. Her most recent book is Finding My Father: His Century-Long Journey from World War I Warsaw and My Quest to Follow.
Deborah Tannen is a frequent guest on television and radio news and information shows, including 20/20, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Rachael Ray Talk Show, PBS NewsHour, Charlie Rose, Oprah, Hardball, Nightline, many shows on CNN and NPR including Morning Edition, All Things Considered, The Diane Rehm Show, and Fresh Air. She has been featured in and written for most major newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, The Atlantic, USA Today, People, The Washington Post, and The Harvard Business Review.
Deborah Tannen is one of only six in Georgetown University’s College of Arts and Sciences who hold the distinguished rank of University Professor. She has been McGraw Distinguished Lecturer at Princeton University and spent a term in residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey; she has twice been a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford in Palo Alto, California. The recipient of five honorary doctorates, she is a member of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation Board of Directors.
In addition to her eight books for general audiences, Tannen is author or editor of sixteen books and over one hundred articles for scholarly audiences. She has also published poems, short stories, and personal essays. Her first play, “An Act of Devotion,” is included in The Best American Short Plays 1993-1994. It was produced, together with her play “Sisters,” by Horizons Theatre in Arlington, Virginia.
SHE SAID/HE SAID: WOMEN AND MEN AT WORK
Drawing on the original research described in her New York Times Business best seller Talking from 9 to 5, and her article "The Power of Talk: Who Gets Heard and Why," which is featured in the Harvard Business Review’s 10 Must Reads on Women and Leadership, Dr. Tannen explains how women and men tend to (and are expected to) use language in the workplace—and how the differences in those ways of talking can affect who gets heard, who gets ahead, and what gets done. Presenting video clips of real interaction to illustrate both children at play and adults talking at work, the lecture provides insight into how ways of speaking can vary by gender, then explores in depth how women and men tell others what to do. The lecture concludes with suggestions for avoiding and overcoming the negative consequences of differing speaking patterns, giving audience members tools to use to improve their work lives.
CAN WE TALK? WOMEN AND MEN IN CONVERSATION
Talk between women and men can feel at times like cross-cultural communication. The reason, Deborah Tannen shows, is that, in many ways, it is. Drawing on the original research described in her #1, nearly four-year New York Times best seller You Just Don’t Understand, and the many books she has written since, Dr. Tannen shows why men and women can walk away from the same conversation with completely different ideas of what was said. Tracing gendered patterns to children’s use of language at play—illustrated by real-life video clips—she then gives examples of typical conversations to uncover the logic behind both women’s and men’s ways of speaking, explaining how the differences between them can lead to frustration on both sides. As entertaining as she is enlightening, Dr. Tannen concludes with suggestions for avoiding and overcoming miscommunication resulting from gender-related ways of speaking. Based on an organization’s needs and interests, the lecture can include or focus on any of the following: mothers and daughters, sisters and brothers, friends, romantic partners, and women's and men's uses of social media.
THAT’S NOT WHAT I MEANT!: HOW WAYS OF TALKING AFFECT CONVERSATIONS AND RELATIONSHIPS
Wouldn’t this be a better world if we all just said what we mean? We do—but how we say what we mean tends to vary by a whole host of influences, including culture, ethnicity, gender, class, and geographic region. We think in terms of intentions, but often the outcomes of conversations are caused by differing conversational styles. You think someone is interrupting, but they may simply expect a shorter pause between turns, so they thought you were done. Or maybe they’re talking along to show enthusiasm. When does “Would you like to stop for a drink?” mean “I want to stop for a drink”? And when are playful insults a way of showing affection—and when are they just, well, insults? Deborah Tannen explores how ways of speaking can differ, and how such differences can affect relationships among friends, family, romantic partners, and colleagues at work.