This week, the Online Book Club will be discussing Chapter 7 of Deborah Tannen’s book, Talking from 9 to 5, “Talking Up Close: Status and Connection.”
When an individual addresses another, the formality or friendliness implied speaks to the nature of the relationship. For example, if a subordinate is referred to by his or her first name while the superior is addressed by a prefix and his or her last name, the hierarchy of status is evident. Furthermore, women and men view the structure of hierarchy differently. While men perceive status as “clout” and a means to accomplish tasks, women are more drawn to relationships and building necessary connections to achieve assignments. Tannen also exposes cultural differences and demonstrates the variety of conversational rituals that exist. She concludes that there is no right way to converse—every way is valid and useful in different circumstances.