You’ve heard that men and women communicate differently at home and in the workplace — but what are some specific verbal and nonverbal communication style differences?
In this video, Michael Grinder, the pioneer of nonverbal communication, breaks down five ways men and women communicate differently and what’s helpful to understand. Warning — Michael knows this video may be controversial! Let us know what you think after watching the video.
What is nonverbal communication? Learn more about what it is and why it’s important.
5 Gender Differences In Communication – Verbal and Nonverbal Styles
Read the modified transcript to “5 Gender Differences In Communication – Verbal and Nonverbal Styles” below.
Michael Grinder here.
I’m going to talk about a taboo subject: What is the difference verbally and nonverbally between female and male styles of communication?
Some people are even offended by talking about male and female styles of communication. So please, bear with me as I get in trouble talking about controversial issues.
By the way, I have six biological sisters, and they want to know why they’re not getting to appear also — I promise I’ll share it with them.
#1: Men and women have different talking styles
The way females and males talk is different. In what way?
A female can talk about content and pay attention to the process of how it’s being delivered at the same time.
Males can pay attention to the content, but not the process.
It helps you appreciate why, when females are listening, they bobbed their heads like this. They make encouraging sounds. Hmm. Uh uh. What they’re doing is they’re indicating: I’m supporting the process as well as the content that you’re saying.
Males, they’re afraid that if they bob their head, they may be interpreted as agreeing with whatever the content is.
Both of them have to get that elephant out.
The female oftentimes has to say this, “I’ll be bobbing my head. And I’m told that I make encouraging sounds all the time. I want you to know it doesn’t mean I agree with what you’re saying. It means that I’m supporting our conversation.”
The male has to do the same thing also. “You know, I’ve been told that I don’t bob my head a lot when I listen. It’s because I’m concentrating, in no way am I trying to discourage you from talking, please continue.”
As long as you get the elephants out, it’s okay if there’s a difference. Sometimes, the statistical information about males and females is exactly the opposite. And sometimes how we are at work is very different than how we are at home.
#2: The decision making process is unique to one’s gender
There’s a huge difference in terms of how decisions are made.
Actually, what you’re going to find is females want to be involved in the decision-making process, not just the final decision, whereas males will tend to only want the final decision.
So that’s why when my wife asked me, “honey what do you think about blah, blah, blah.” It’s a rather complex decision. I want to go away and think about, “I could, maybe we are, here’s another okay factor,” and so on.
Then I come back and I just share my decision with her. Ooh, I’ve learned that that does not work.
What she wants is for me to share, I feel this way and I feel that way, then she feels closer to me.
So sometimes the difference between men and women is, do you share your ambivalent feeling more than one way at the same time or just your decision?
#3: Women give off approachable nonverbal communication cues. Men come across as credible.
Another thing that would be really helpful to understand is the difference between credible and approachable.
Female’s structure of their voice tends to be that they tend to move their head up and down and their voice comes out very rolling. So they’re seen as being very, very approachable.
Males tend to have their heads still as we mentioned earlier so that they are seen as being credible.
Here’s, what’s amazing, completely unfair.
If the male can learn how to be more approachable he has a shot at being seen as a new-age sensitive guy.
Whereas a female that goes from being approachable to be incredible, the B word comes out, so unfair.
But it is a difference between males and females.
#4: Women bring up sticky issues more than men.
The other thing that you may want to look at in terms of males and females, point number four is the idea of at home, when you have to bring up a sticky subject, kind of, eh, you don’t want to, females bring it up 80% of the time more than the males. That’s both in happy as well as unhappy relationships.
What’s amazing about the male, is the male doesn’t like talking about those difficult subjects: he does what’s called stonewalling — you know the term — stonewalling, 85% of the time.
Differences between males and females. There’s a lot. This just scratches the surface. We even have another blog post about gender differences and nonverbal communication styles in the workplace if you want to read more about it.