The headline of this blog post shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone, in fact the best communicators I’ve known in my professional and personal live have all been the fairer sex – just ask my wife.
In fact, the past 14 or so years that I’ve been in corporate communications all of my bosses have been women – and they’ve typically been some of the best communicators within the various organizations.
That fact comes to bear in two studies I recently read. The first was conducted by Stanford University researcher Diane McGinness, who gave young children a series of 12 different tasks to accomplish and recorded any subsequent vocalizations that the kids made.
Girls Speak – But Boys…not so much
While both boys and girls made roughly the same amount of vocalizations, the content of those mutterings were quite different. The study found that in 100 percent of the girls’ recordings they all spoke with each other during the tasks, using conversant language and speaking skills.
Conversely, the boys were not verbally focused at all. In the recordings of the boys, only 60 percent of their vocal sounds included actual language – the other 40 percent comprised “motor noises” or single word exclamations such as “whoa” or “wow.”
Half Our Brain Tied Behind Our Back
To make matters more uneven, it seems that men tend to communicate with only half a brain in their head – literally.
New research out of the Indiana University School of Medicine reveals that women use both hemispheres of their brain when listening to a conversation, while men are only able to use one half of their brain at a time because of neural brain connections that develop differently between the sexes while growing in the mother’s womb.
[NOTE: As a guy, I guess a biologically-based excuse of “brain deadness” is better than the old "selective hearing" excuse I unsuccessfully foist on my wife during an NFL football game, oh well.]
In summary, almost half the time men aren’t saying anything other than “motor noises” and when we listen, we’re only half listening.
Two Tips to Help Guys be Gooder Talkers
Regardless, despite the piles of scientific data that continue to amass against us males and our gross absence of polished communication skills – I have learned two simple secrets that can help even the most inept-masculine communicator come across like an expert.
Here they are….
- Heed this ancient proverb, “It’s better to be silent and thought a fool, than to open your mouth and reveal all doubt.”
- We have two ears and one mouth. To be an effective communicator, one must listen twice as much as one speaks – especially during conversations with your wife!
Wait a minute – check that last bit, in conversations with your wife it’s safer if you just listen. Period.
Question: Guys and gals both – when have you ever put your foot in your mouth?