Code Switching: How to Talk So Men Will Listen

May 19, 2010

Notes from Dr. Audrey Nelson, author of the book, "Code Switching: How to Talk So Men Will Listen."

Women have more connections than men between the right and left brains. This happens to be the catalyst that ignites language acquisition. That explains why little girls in kindergarten and first grade talk more and are more verbally equipped.

Male and female brains differ in size. Researchers have found that the male brain is about 15 percent larger. It is because men are bigger that they have bigger brains. There is also the quantity versus quality issue. There are different regions of the brain that are different sizes, for example, the region of a woman's brain that houses interpersonal skills is bigger. This is where empathy and compassion come from. But that doesn't mean that men don't feel or can't be empathetic.

The book says "men are more direct in their communication." But we hear it all the time, our feelings are hurt and the guys don't even know what they did or said wrong.

Men tend to be direct in their literal communicating. Women use a pyramid style. You ask her a question; she wants to tell a story. Women want to discuss it. Men want to cut to the chase.

The book also cites that in an office environment, you often hear women asking for permission such as, "Could I ask a question, would it all right if I ask you," I'm not trying to stir up problems, but…"

Are men really lousy listeners? It's women's top complaint about men and men agree. Men try to respond and fix things before listening to the whole story. Women tend to read too deeply into things and overanalyze.

There is a lot of controversy about whether men can multi-task. Women can multi-task because they're always doing two behaviors. We have two work shifts -- home and work.

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