The differences between men and women are part of what makes our world so wonderful. Consider how boring life would be if we all communicated in the same way. The differences between communication styles of men and women are many and each has their own strengths. The key to communication success is to maximize those strengths and for each gender to learn from the other.
Men have a great advantage simply from the depth and strength of their tone. A lower pitch with deep resonant tone is pleasing to the ear and lends itself to authority. But effective communication requires more than tone and pitch. Men can learn from women’s communication style in pace, inflection, phrasing, and clarity.
Men have a tendency to speak in a monotone with words and phrases running into one and another. Using proper breathing techniques can allow you to set a brisk, yet thoughtful pace. Finding your correct pace requires close examination of your content, separating words and ideas by breaths, and variety in inflection. Many people find it helpful to break up their speaking notes into verbal cues. Just as a screenplay contains directions in emotion, location, pace, and volume your speaker’s notes should be your directors guide. When to speak more softly, when to take a breath and pause, and when to infuse emotion into your communication will help with planned speeches but can train you to do the same thing in your casual communication.
Because of muscle tension men tend to speak with their mouths only slightly opened and their lips tightly clinched. Men need to practice speaking with their mouths open in a round and relaxed manner. Just as you stretch your muscles before a run you need to stretch your mouth and lips prior to speaking. Simply running through the vowel sounds with exaggerated mouth positions can warm you up and relax your jaws and facial muscles. When you feel that tension in your jaws and cheeks that should be your first cue that you are speaking too quickly. When you feel that stress in your facial muscles slow down and take a deep breath from your diaphragm.
Because women’s communication style contains more rise and fall in inflection, their voices are more emotive. Men can learn a valuable lesson here. Raising and lowering your voice and emphasizing key words can bring your message to life. This brings clarity to your content and brings attention to each and every element of your message. When you speak in casual conversation, watch your audience’s reaction and adjust your delivery to evoke interest. You must learn to use your voice as an instrument designed to inspire the reaction you desire. Vocal inflections are the notes you play to bring your lyrics to life.
Another major difference between male and female communication styles is the use of descriptive phrases and adjectives. Women tend to use a more descriptive style and this adds color and depth to their content. Make adjectives your friend! Use expressive words to give a body and soul to your message. Your choice of words can mean the difference between being heard or tuned out.
Maximizing your strengths is the key to communication success and both men and women can learn from each other. For men, the depth and resonance of their voice is certainly a strength and for women, the emotive and descriptive quality of their voice is a vital part of the connections they make. Listen to speakers of the opposite gender and learn from the qualities that attract your attention. Critical listening is the first step to becoming an effective communicator. After you listen and gauge your own and an audience’s response, model your content and delivery to what you know are successful techniques. With the best content and the best expression of that content, you can reach any audience.
Katherine M. Hart is President and Founder of Hartfelt Communications, a professional training and communications imaging company. Over the past 25 years, Ms. Hart has trained over 25,000 Call Center Agents, Corporate Executives, Politicians, Actors, Community Leaders. She has developed several programs including ICALL and the Communications Connection - a corporate communications training program to work with developing strong internal communications protocols that translate to greater customer satisfaction. For many other presentation, training, and vocal empowerment programs, please visit http://www.hartfeltcommunications.com Sign up for a monthly ezine-newletter “From the Hart" with vocal tips and communications essentials. To contact Katherine Hart for a recommendation from her network of professional voice-over artists to implement professional voice imaging in your company, please contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 312-786-1868