How Men and Women Communicate

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. 

Marketing examples

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 AdRoy 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.


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12 Responses to How Men and Women Communicate

  1. Yes, to Lars and the Real Girl! Thanks for reminding me. You’re so right about communication styles. When my husband is telling me he loves me he makes the bed, cuts pixie-size firewood, stacks in neatly by the door, or sets up the coffee pot the night before so I don’t have to. When I want to discuss something I go to girlfriends. It saves a lot of frustration.

  2. Holly Buchanan says:

    Sounds like you’ve figured it out! (does he really make the bed? That one is a keeper)

  3. Mejohnson1 says:

    Thanks Holly! This is a great reminder of what women want – someone to listen and opportunity to talk. So important to understanding how the internet supports that in social media and how to work with and leverage that opportunity in marketing. Sharing with all my colleagues today.

  4. Their communication is certainly different in a lot of regards…good to read your viewpoints.

  5. I am so happy to read a post that is dedicated to this oft discussed topic.Loved the videos too.

  6. Chuck McKay says:

    Of course we’re speaking in generalities, but I learned years ago that when a man says “I have a problem” he means “I’m looking for an answer.”
    When a woman says “I have a problem,” she means “Pay attention to me.”

  7. I communicate with the opposite sex through conversation.

  8. A simple talk would be nice.

  9. This can be made into a book. Following – men from mars, women froom venus.

  10. petersteel says:

    that was really nice to read that.. that was really great post… it seem great information … that’s great..

  11. Very interesting to read about Men and Women relationship, NIce blog.
    Thanks for sharing

  12. DJ Hire Ash says:

    Very interesting but videos are no longer working 🙁 would have connected the story up a little better!

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