Gender Differences in communication

            Men and women exhibit enormous diversity in their communication styles and practice as they posse’s different conversational and speech skills.  These differences depend on a variety of factors or situations such as the purpose, the roles they play and the context in which these communication processes are being carried out. However, on the other hand, these gender communications have elicited missed reaction from different researchers and physiologists by claiming that there are no specific styles of communication among the genders as they are exhibited by both the genders.  Gender communication differences are illustrated or understood self concept of the genders, language behavior, persuasion styles, interpretations and meaning that are attached to certain things among many other attributes. Therefore, understanding these communication differences among genders goes a milestone in curbing any form of conflict and rather ensures harmony and positive relationships among the genders.

In his book “men are from mars, women are from Venus” John Gray argues that men and women are entirely different in their communication.  His arguments are that these differences are solely dependent on the different values, needs and communication styles adapted by them.

When it comes to talking, about problems both men and women look for different outcomes.  Women prefer a person who listens and empathizes with them as they do not look for someone who fix or solves the problem. Rather they prefer a person that understands them and allows them to express their concerns and anxieties as they feel appreciated and cared for. On the other hand, women when it comes to dealing with problems as they are solution driven.  Men like a person that will come up with an answer even if the solution seems to be impossible. Therefore, these differences may lead to disagreement and miscommunication between the genders. Understanding these differences in such situation may help in containing escalation of misunderstanding and aborting relationships among the genders.

Interpretation and meaning is also another aspect that brings differences among the genders. This scenario is well illustrated when dealing with conflicts.  Women in most conflict cases have a tendency to offer advice on the way forward. This scenario lead men to interpret this as a threatening behavior by women as they (men) should be the ones to make decisions on various aspects. This leads to the interpretation by the women counterpart that men think that they know everything. This interpretation and attachment of meaning to the actions through communication leads to conflict as men thinks that women are challenging their competency when they involve more in communication.  Furthermore, the tendency of men to be inclined to going into solution mode leads to oversimplification of a problem ignoring some of the sensitive issues making a women  feel that her feelings are being ignored by men. This interpretation and attachment of meaning lead to the barriers in communication, leading to a conflict.

In time of a crisis, women talk about their problems openly with their friends, family members, and colleagues and their partners as a way of seeking empathy and comfort. This helps them to feel emotionally prepared to deal with their challenges. On the other hand, men are more introvert and withdraw in dealing with crises. They do not talk about the issues that are pressing them or do not seek for help as they view this as sign of weakness.  Therefore, men will not engage in a lot of communication while women will seek guidance from various stakeholders. Therefore, understanding these barriers and trends would help the genders in reaching consensus and solving their problems amicably.

Language is another important factor in the gender communication. Language is the medium through which people express their world views. Language is learned and it is the mode in which beliefs, perceptions, normal and many other attributes in life are transmitted. Language is a medium in which meaning is transmitted and interpreted. Due to our cultures, men and women are socialized in different ways. For instance, women are taught not to be confrontational or not to be aggressive in their lives. Therefore, they mostly express themselves through indirect channels such as asking of questions. These questions are used to solicit information in making individuals rethink their plans, ideas and positions. While on the other hand, men do not easily recognize indirect messages or body languages. They do not quickly read between the lines in understanding the women meanings or questions.  Women language tends to be tactful, indirect, indiscreet, and even manipulative as they tend to giver fewer directives. Further, women use more courtesy words. For instance, they may say “Anne will not be available to finish the assignment,” meaning that Anne does not want to handle the assignment. On the other hand, men language tends to be direct, blunt and powerful and at some times offensive. They give more directives with less courtesy words for example your ideas is wrong and indecisive.

Women are more verbally skilled compared to men and their language and communication matters more to them as opposed to men. Men often use language as a way of getting things done the way they want them to while women use language as a tool of enhancing cooperation with other people.  Furthermore, men use language competitively aimed at maintaining and acquiring status while women use of language is cooperative demonstrating their quest to ensure harmony and equality.

Nonverbal communicative behaviors such as use of space, concepts of time and attachment of meaning to nonverbal cues varies among the genders.  Women tend to use nonverbal cues more often in their communication than men.

When it comes to conversation, women engage in communication to build rapport with their colleagues and to explore their own feelings and opinions.  Therefore, they consider their colleagues worthy of conversation as they talk or engage in conversation on personal topics such as experiences, people, and relationships. They endeavor to connect emotionally with other people. While on the other hand, men tend to view or regard conversation as a way or means of exchanging information and solving problems. They therefore, discuss facts, events, and happenings in sports news, or generally topics that are not directly related to each other. Men use linear, more abstract communication and speak in general terms which requires little intimacy.

When it comes to self concept and self disclosure, women continuously self disclose, as they share their secrets and process of inner discovery to anybody that will seem to listen to them. They disclose as a way of expressing their stress and things that disturb them to be able to get support and consolation from their colleagues.  On the other hand, men often stop communiacting abruptly and become silent and rarely self disclose. Men would not prefer to burden or express their problems with other men but rather will choose to do something else like watching a television rather than share their problems with women. It shows that men do not self disclose.

On the aspect of self-concept, women are perceived to have low confidence compared to the males. This confidence is witnessed in taking or making decision on different aspect involving daily activities and in the leadership positions.  Male are confident in making whichever decisions regardless of the consequences provided their conscience tells them that the decisions are appropriate.  Therefore, this confidence is exhibited in the decisions they make concerning certain things.

In general, in their communication, women seek to relate with other people as equal and therefore, in their communication they tend to listen to other people views as compared to men.  Male in their communications seek for domination and therefore, they engage in communication or talk more than their female counterparts.

When it comes to persuasion, males are more persuasive in their communication when compared to women. For instance, it is nature for male to persuade women when initiating and intimacy relationship. This kind of persuasive is socially and culturally accepted.  But there are occasions where women are good persuaders especially when they are talking on emotional topics such as child abuse or violence. When discussing g on these topics, they vary their tone and choose words selectively which triggers emotional instinct swaying people to buy their ideas. On the other hand, men are not good persuaders on certain topics such as emotional topic that  are associated with  society and issues to do with child abuse or sex abuse as they are not easily  aroused by the emotions.

Women are more open and express more often more in private places as they are able to share their problems. On the other hand, male like to express in the public places as this demonstrates their capability and is seen as a sign of power.

When communicating with women, men can easily learn openness, sensitivity and self control with competitiveness while women can learn to be assertive, more direct and mirror their feelings when engaging in conversation with male. Therefore, these differences exhibited by these genders are understood by both the genders, communication can be enhanced and barriers to effective communication and understanding can easily be managed.  Regardless of different situations, marriage, business, management, awareness of gender differences in communication can prove successful in working with teams, presenting your services or products, managing conflicts and even in improving management of groups.

Furthermore, identifying these differences in gender communication can help couples and people in general in identifying behaviors and traits that are exhibited by their partners and in themselves. This will therefore, help in balancing their differences and appreciating each other in term of their communication patterns.   Acknowledging these differences is not necessarily trying to change them as it is very difficult to change these social and genetic solutions, but   trying to adapt to them and empathize with them even to a little magnitude can lead to a more rewarding relationship between these men and women.

In conclusion, it is true that there are some differences in gender communication. These differences in most cases have resulted to conflicts and disagreements among the gender. In most cases these differences arise because of failure of either gender to identify and recognize and appreciate other gender attributes. By acknowledging and appreciating these differences, conflicts between the genders can be resolved and people can learn to appreciate each other.

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