Communication Between Men and Women….

Is there really a difference?  Why is there so much talk about this? There are studies upon studies confirming that there are differences in the way we speak, the way we hear and the way we listen. One of the strategies I talk about deals with the male/female communication styles. It’s always funny when “selective hearing” enters the conversation.  Recently when I was speaking to a group of executives about this very topic, a man had an AHA moment…in the middle of a thought.  His comment was, “I just figured out how to talk to my wife!” This was a win-win situation for everyone, especially his wife who was not present.

I came across an article  that I thought I would share with you.   Enjoy it and let me know some of your experiences with not communicating effectively or not being listened to correctly. Below is a sizable excerpt from the original article (which can be seen by clicking here).

The Horse-Human Connection

By Jane Sanders, GenderSmart® Solutions, 877-343-2150,

Horses, like humans, are a blend of masculine and feminine behavioral and communication styles. One significant difference separates us, however. Humans struggle daily with misperceptions, misunderstandings, and rampant confusion as to how to communicate effectively with the style opposite from their own. Horses also struggle when trying to understand us, but, in their world, they naturally and easily adopt a masculine or feminine style as the need arises.

So, horses demonstrate ideal style flexibility. Both men and women would be well served to use each other’s communication style – in moderation – when the situation calls for it. By no means should women use a masculine style exclusively, or vice versa. A horse never tries to be something it is not. It’s important to learn how to communicate with a horse in a way it understands or

you won’t get what you want from it.  As famed horse clinician Pat Parelli said, “If your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question, or you asked the question wrong.”

The following (and this is the first in a series of several issues) are communication and behavioral tips for both men and women that will help improve productivity, working relationships, and chances for advancement. As I explain each style tip, many of which are mentioned in other editions, I have interpreted it through the eyes of a horse for your interest and entertainment. Please note I am not implying that men or women are like horses – just that our communication styles have some similarities and therefore opportunities for interesting learning. I think you’ll find it fascinating how horses respond to either a masculine or feminine style,  depending on the situation. Just like us humans! No better teachers exist than our equine friends.

TIPS FOR WOMEN COMMUNICATING WITH MEN (or feminine style to masculine style)

  • Be succinct, to the point, but not abrupt.  Men, or people with a masculine style, are bottom-line oriented and usually less interested in detail, so conciseness is important. And no one, especially women, appreciate being dealt with in a short, rude manner. Comparatively, horses will lose trust and respond negatively to harsh or rude behavior. Unlike dogs and more like people, they do not love unconditionally. Also, hold details for back-up purposes. Horses get bored and mentally tired easily. Give them only exactly what they need at any particular moment during a training session or ride.
  • Avoid tag questions, apologies, disclaimers (“This is a good report, don’t you think?” Better would be, “Good report.” “Well, this is just my opinion, but…”  Better would be “I think we should…”). Just like people, horses need clear, direct, yet gentle communication to be successful at following your leadership. They do not respond to indirect or weak communication. (Unless they have worked with you extensively enough and love you enough to read between the lines…sound familiar?) If gentle doesn’t work the first time, dial it up a bit. If that doesn’t work, add a bit more pressure. (Voice, then tap with heels, then squeeze.) But be sure you’re asking clearly, in language they understand!

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