In this post, we’ll unpack all you need to know about male and female communication, including why and how men and women communicate differently, why it’s important to understand the differences and more.
Men & Women Are Different
Both men and women view the world through different frameworks. Therefore, there are fundamental differences in the way they behave. One essential difference is reflected in how men and women communicate.
While the following principles are in the context of personal relationships, they can also be applied to professional relationships.
Why Men & Women Communicate Differently
To understand why men and women communicate differently, we must look back at our evolution.
For most of human history, men hunted and women gathered. Men would spend most of their day sitting in silence waiting for and watching their prey (the modern equivalent of fishing) while women would spend most of their day bonding with their children and the other women in the tribe (the modern equivalent of going for a coffee). As a result, men required language to coordinate and women required language to cooperate. This lead men and women to evolve different tendencies.
- Men & Women Communicate For Different Purposes
Men communicate to achieve solutions. Women communicate to achieve connection.
This is why when a man has a problem, he wants to solve it and when a woman has a problem she wants to share it.
For a man, thinking about his problem increases his levels of testosterone which decreases his levels of cortisol. For a woman, talking about her problems and feeling heard and understood by her man increases her levels of oestrogen which decreases her levels of cortisol.
Interestingly, research estimates that on an average day, a man speaks around 12,500 words while a woman speaks around 25,000 words ― double.
“Men want solutions. Women want connections.”
- Men & Women Communicate Using Different Styles
Men use direct speech. Women use indirect speech.
This is why when a man is asked about his day he will respond by talking about one thing and when a woman is asked about her day she will respond by talking about everything.
For a man, direct speech allows him to establish solutions by getting to the point as quickly and efficiently as possible. For a woman, indirect speech allows her to establish connections by building rapport and avoiding aggression and confrontation.
“Men give the bottom-line first. Women give the bottom-line last.”
Male & Female Communication Table Summary
Below is a table summary of characteristics for men and women in the context of communication. It’s important to remember that these are universal tendencies and therefore they may not necessarily apply to everyone.
Why Understanding The Communication Styles Of Men & Women Is Important
Understanding the dialects of both men and women along with their goals can have a profound impact on the way you interact, allowing you to communicate more effectively and achieve your desired goals.
How To Effectively Communicate With Men & Women
The biggest mistake that men make with women is that they relate and communicate with women as if they were men. The biggest mistake that women make with men is that they relate and communicate with men as if they were women.
So how do we overcome these cognitive and interpersonal differences? The answer is to change our approach. Great communicators are people who change their approach based upon the person they are talking to.
For men to communicate more effectively with women they must:
- Be less direct by increasing the amount of content.
- Give more context and less facts.
- State the bottom-line last.
- Remember that women communicate to achieve connections.
- Ask more questions.
- Resist the thought that your partner needs to give more facts.
- Avoid speaking in demanding language.
For women to communicate more effectively with men they must:
- Be more direct by decreasing the amount of content.
- Give less context and more facts.
- State the bottom-line first.
- Remember that men communicate to achieve solutions.
- Ask less questions.
- Resist the thought that your partner needs to give more context.
- Avoid speaking in hint language.
Men are self-focused – they speak to build self-esteem in themselves. Women are other-focused – they speak to build self-esteem in others.
Both men and women developed different communication styles as a result of evolution.
Men tend to have a more direct approach with the purpose of achieving solutions. Women tend to have a more indirect approach with the purpose of achieving connections.
Understanding how both men and woman differ in their communication goals and styles can help foster better, more productive and more effective interactions.