One of my all-time favorite movies is Lars and the Real Girl. There's a magical scene in the movie where Lars and a female co-worker (with whom there's a mutual attraction) have an exchange in the office lunch room.
I'll let you watch the scene, then we'll talk about what we can learn about how men and women communicate.
Women have more connections to the verbal centers of the brain. Women often talk out problems. Men are hard-wired to take action. While he may not be able to express himself verbally, he often finds other ways to express himself.
In this case Lars (who struggles in social situations to begin with) can't fully participate verbally, but he finds another way to show that he cares.
Now, Lars is an extreme case. But I think there's something we can all learn here.
Women express themselves verbally. Communication feels good. She feels better by simply talking. She is not necessarily looking to you to solve her problems. She wants you to listen and empathize. Often, a "Wow,sounds like what your boss did really bothered you" will get a way better response than, "Well why don't you just quit your job?"
Men express themselves through actions. So often women get upset with men because they can't express themselves verbally, share what they're feeling and thinking. But look at what he is doing. He may be putting new tires on your car, he may be offering to take the family out to dinner so you don't have to cook, he may be giving your stuffed bear CPR. While he may not be telling you how he feels, he is showing you how he feels.
Advice for men – Listen – Don't just half-listen, really listen, stop what you're doing, make eye-contact, don't interrupt and don't try to solve the problem.
Advice for women - Watch his actions. If you're frustrated with him because he's not sharing his thoughts and feelings verbally, look at what he does. He could be trying to communicate through actions rather than words.
Kleenex – Let It Out. I love this campaign for so many reasons. But one of the main ones is Kleenex understands the power of verbal communication and the need for women (and men) to let it out.
Roy Williams Jewelery Radio Ad – Roy Williams is the master at understanding men. In this ad he taps into how men buy jewelery (take an action) to "tell" her how they feel.
“Ladies, many of you will be fortunate enough this Christmas to find a small, but beautifully wrapped package under your tree bearing a simple gold seal that says ‘Heisenberg’s.’ Now you and I both know there’s jewelry in the box. But the man who put it there for you is trying desperately to tell you that you are more precious than diamonds, more valuable than gold, and very, very special. You see, he could have gone to a department store and bought department store jewelry, or picked up something at the mall like all the other husbands. But the men who come to Heisenberg’s aren’t trying to get off cheap or easy. Men who come to Heisenberg’s believe their wives deserve the best. And whether they spend 99 dollars or 99 hundred, the message is the same: Men who come to Heisenberg’s are still very much in love… We just thought you should know.”
Understanding male and female communication style can help you create more relevant and more successful marketing campaigns. It may even help you in your personal life as well.