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Speculate about why communication patterns appear to differ between genders

Speculate about why communication patterns appear to differ between genders.

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Question asked by devnand_giri

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angel profile image
Angel Paudel

Gender differences are apparent when you look at the behavior and physical appearance of either gender. They think differently, feel differently, act differently and even talk differently (Murray, 1992). The most stunning difference is the difference in the style of communication between the genders. This difference in communication often causes misunderstanding, upsetting the other person and not understanding the true essence or meaning to annoy either men or women (Kehoe, 1975).

The difference in the way men and women communicate affects them in all context. Emotionally, men connects with action while women often connect through conversation. Men often shares the ideas, facts and suggestion while avoiding the sharing of feelings. On the other hand, woman wants to talk about the emotions and thoughts.

The interpretation of body language between male and female differ as well as women make more use of non-verbal communication like animated facial expression and making direct eye contact while male doesn’t focus much on this aspect. During a conversation, a man often like or prefers a more relaxed pose with the facial and body language often constant.

The location matters a lot as well when it comes to the gender and their preference to talk. Women mostly talk when at home, in phone or in other social situations where she can express herself through words while men often tend to talk more during the work where they have more opportunity to share their ideas, communicate with a purpose while solving problems.

The difference in communication style causes the difference in the pattern of communication between genders. This is why if men and women can better recognize these difference and work towards improvising their own communication style with the opposite sex, they can have a good meaning conversation with fewer/lesser conflict.


Kehoe, N. (1975). Nonverbal Communication: Male and Female Perceptions. Counseling And Values, 19 (3), 181-185.

Murray, S. (1992). You just don’t understand: Women and men in conversation. Journal Of Pragmatics, 18 (5), 507-514.

dipadhungana profile image

Communication is the process of exchanging information between individuals using verbal and non-verbal elements. As defined by Wood (2004), "Communication is a systemic process in which individuals interact with and through symbols to create and interpret meanings.” Though the communication pattern aims in communicating effectively in clear, concise and accurate manner, the gender of the people involved in communication affect it.

The communication pattern of male and female are termed as "report talking” and "rapport talking” respectively. The report talk is directed at the content while rapport talk is directed at establishing relationships (Mohindra & Azhar, 2012).Men tend to focus more on reason, logic, power, status, competition, thoughts and team while talking. On the contrary, while communicating, women tend to focus on feeling, empathy, harmony, closeness, relationships, co-operation, intuitions, sharing and group. The culture helps in setting up these communication pattern. Especially in the eastern society like ours, from the earlier age, boys are told to be tough and strong. As a result of these, the men give more priority to content and facts than emotions during a conversation.

Some of the behaviors of men and women that make the communication pattern different between genders as mentioned by (Bell & Smith, 2014) are:

  • Men want to keep their problems and personal issues to themselves while women talk to others regarding their issues to seek for possible solutions.
  • Men take asking for help as a sign of inability but women perceive is as a means to build relationships.
  • Men tend to forget the disagreements after a certain time and women will stick to it for longer.
  • Men are direct at giving criticisms and complements while women look for buffers while doing so.
  • Women tend to mix the issues from their personal life with business talks unlike men.
  • Women tend to avoid direct confrontation about offensive behavior as opposed to men who take immediate stand.

To sum up, there are certain strengths and weaknesses of each gender that affects the communication pattern. Women are good at reading body language, listening and displaying empathy. Similarly men at good at commanding physical presence, to- the- point interaction and displaying power. However, being too emotional, non-authoritative and mandering are the weaknesses of women. Being too direct, insensitive and overconfident serves as communication weaknesses for men (Goman, 2016). Thus for effective communication, we need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each gender.


Bell, A. H., & Smith, D. M. (2014). Management Communication (3 ed.). New York: Wiley.

Goman, C. K. (2016, March 31). Is Your Communication Style Dictated By Your Gender? Retrieved from Forbes: forbes.com/sites/carolkinseygoman/...

Mohindra, V., & Azhar, S. (2012). Gender Communication: A Comparative Analysis of Communicational Approaches of Men and Women at Workplaces. IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science (JHSS), 2 (1), 18-27. Retrieved from iosrjournals.org/iosr-jhss/papers/...

Wood, J. T. (2004). Communication Theories in Action: An Introduction (3 ed.). Belmont, California: Wadsworth

shantamilan profile image

Men and women are different in a lot of ways. Their form of communication being one of the major differences. The two look and perceive the same things differently. Many academics have tried to answer these difference and their causes but nothing can be certain as these traits vary from person to person.

"According to Doctor John Gray, author of the bestselling relationship book “Men are from Mars, Women Are From Venus”, women, being more relationship oriented, are more apt to express their feelings through words. Men express their feelings through actions.” Men have throughout the ages been more action driven while women more so through sharing feelings. Let us take an example. In a break up a guy usually hits the bar with his friends and gets drunk while the girl talks about her feelings with her friends. Words versus action.

"Women speak twice as much words as men do. With a caution flag extended toward stereotyping, it’s been noted in these studies that women like to talk things out, while men want to solve the problem and move on. When making an apology, men think that’s the end of it, while women often see this as the beginning of a discussion. (Arnold, 2016)"This shows how women thinking differ from men’s. They prefer a more detailed and elongated conversation to get to the bottom of things while men prefer to get it over with. This practice can be seen most commonly while shopping as well, where women are more particular to the things they buy where as men just want it over with.

Another interesting fact is the investment in money. Women tend to invest more conservatively than men. (Bajtelsmit & Bernasek, 1996) There is difference is the way both genders perceive risk. Women are more averse to risk than men.

It is however important to note that we are talking about human behavior and so it is difficult to generalize everyone under these headings. Stereotyping would be assuming something that may not be true. Never the less these are some familiar behaviors seen between the genders which are the leading cause for the difference in communication between genders.

Arnold, L. (2016). Why Do Men, Women Communicate So Differently? The State Journal , 30. Retrieved from proxy.lirn.net/MuseProxyID=mp02/Mu...

Bajtelsmit, V. L., & Bernasek, A. (1996). Why Do Women Invest Differently Than Men? Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning , 1-10.

ujjwalpoudel profile image

Bell & Smith (2016), in their book Managerial Communication, the communication pattern of women, verbal or non-verbal, both is found to be different from adult males which often precedes them to leadership disadvantage, promotions and recognitions. Men and women express gender communication differences in substance, style, and social organization. When men meet with one another, they talk some sports, money, and business; on the other hand women are more into discussing about people, beliefs, and relationships. The way men and women use the words has a vast difference. For instance, men use precise words to the point and without descriptive details; whereas, women are more detailed, apologetic, and vague.

According to Goman (2016), the communicative strength of women is able to interpret the nonverbal cues, good listeners and empathetic whereas the males are commanding, direct and effective in power display. The same article takes the communication weakness of man and woman to be dull, insensitive and too adamant of male and overly emotional, meandering and not authoritative of woman.There is a significant difference in how men and women communicate. For instance; Men often show themselves to define a problem, converse for competition, and talk to solve problems; whereas, women most often show themselves to understand, converse to support, and talk to connect.

To sum up, men and women can learn so much from each other if only the gender communication barriers can be broken. So far, the difference in gender communication would help with efficient communication and more proficient means to understand each other’s respecting each other’s belief and emotions.


Bell, A. H., & Smith, D. M. (2014). Management Communication (3rd e.d.). New Delhi: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Goman, K. C. (2016). Is Your Communication Style Dictated By Your Gender?. In forbes. Retrieved from forbes.com/sites/carolkinseygoman/...

ncitujjwal profile image

Many linguist, social scientist, psychologist, and other specialist maintain that there are very real differences in the gender communication. The one psychology research shows that "The men brain is about 10% greater than women brain but women brains are smaller but more efficient” (Cobbi, 2005). Similarly that most women use both sides of their brains for communication, while men only use left side (Kolata, 1995). So that many social scientists tell that there are real differences in gender communication.

The difference in communication according to Tannen, (1993) and Meier, (1991), includes the female use of rapport talk, which involves discussing similarities and matching experiences, and male’s use of report talk that involves discussing knowledge and displaying skill. Infect, males and females talk differently considerably. Females usually prefer discussions about their personal lives and felling. Whereas males prefer discussion about their achievements, activities, and event. The mix - gender communication survey report shows that where females are more often listeners and supporters and male are more often teachers and lectures. Females are believed to use good grammar, speak politely, fluently, and soft-spoken, emotional and shy. While males are believed to have demanding voices, to be dominating, authoritarian, and straight to point, blunt, forceful and to use swear words and slang.

In conclusion, men are more direct and to - the point, whereas women tend to show many details. Men find to focus on the process rather than the relation but women thrive on relationship building. Women’s use of "participatory Listening” by finding each other’s sentences and offering audible acknowledgments of the speakers’ points. Whereas men view these auditory cues as an interruption, intrusion or lack of attentiveness (Crawford, 1995). By understanding the types of communication styles by acknowledging the other person would remove the barrier of gender communication.

Cobbi, C. (2005). It all boils down to communication. The Newyork Times .

Crawford, M. (1995). Talking Difference: On Gender and Language. Sage.

Kolata, G. (1995). Men and women use brain differently, study discovers. The Newyork Times .

Meier, P. (1991). "War of Words: Women Talk about How Men and. Minneapolis Star Tribune. 6-8.

Tannen, D. (1993). Gender and Conversational Interaction. New York: Oxford University Press. 6-8.