Women may be a minority at World of Concrete, but gather them all together and you'll have one noisy room. That's because there are a lot more women in the industry to talk to now more than ever.
This year the Women in Concrete forum in Las Vegas in January was just one of those occasions, with more than 300 women attending the luncheon and listening to Dr. Ann Phillips talk about learning and experimenting with new ways of communicating and expanding skills to improve relationships in the work-place. Women know that they communicate differently than men, so these women were listening and trying to learn how to be better communicators with the men and women with whom they work.
“To be a strong, effective communicator, you have to know yourself, know your fellow team members, and have an understanding of the work/task involved,” said Phillips, a veteran speaker on communications, team building, and stress management.
But that's easier said than done, and that came out in one of the exercises. Phillips asked audience members to determine their worst feature, based on a provided list. A male attendee said what he needs to work on the most is that he believes he is always right. His employee said her worst feature is that she doesn't like to forgive. That can make for some interesting communication. And they did talk about it.
Phillips also asked everyone to walk across the room to talk to someone they didn't know. What happened? They didn't want to stop talking and interacting. They wanted more time to meet each other.
These women get it. They know networking is important and they want to learn how to work with each other. Taking advantage of every opportunity to network is important to them. They have even asked for more time next year just to network.
Last year they asked for more events, so this year we offered two women's seminars in addition to the forum. “Steps to Success for Women in the Construction Industry,” provided women with a blueprint to success in construction. “Women Improving Profitability” addressed the corporate culture affecting women and the specific strengths of women.
Both were well attended, very motivating, and even had a couple very daring men in the audience. Once again, the women couldn't stop talking, interacting, and asking questions. It was hard for the speakers to get through their presentations with all of the questions and comments. Women were talking and interacting again and again and again.
The question is, who is listening? The women are listening to each other and to the women presenters. They realize that they all have important opinions and experiences. They are making a difference to each other. Perhaps the women have made a difference to those few daring men that attended these events.