Former Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture
Former Michigan Senator
Businessman, The Irwin Group
LSSU Outstanding Alumnus Award '91
Parents at Lake State
March is National Women’s History Month, celebrated on campuses, in offices and in K-12 classrooms everywhere. What better time to talk about some of the gender communication differences between males and females? It can help you interact more positively and productively with your student.
Understanding communication styles and preferences, based on gender, can increase positive interactions and decrease misunderstanding. There are some general rules of thumb when it comes to verbal and nonverbal communication. Of course, not all men will communicate one way and not all women will communicate another. These are just some general differences that you may see.
Women speak less often and talk less time per turn
Women often state ideas tentatively, using qualifiers and disclaimers
Women wait their turn to speak so talk can be shared among equals
Women’s talk focuses heavily on people, feelings and daily events
Women tend to rely on requests
Women ask questions to invite others into the conversation and show interest in others’ ideas
Women’s Nonverbal Behaviors
Women establish more eye contact
Women use more facial expressions to convey emotion
Women rely on more closed body positions
Women use fewer gestures
Women touch others less, value touch more and are touched more by others
Women use more nonverbal cues of intimacy, like what a communicator is feeling, to include and nurture others
Men talk more frequently and longer per turn
Men state ideas assertively and forcefully
Men interrupt or speak over others to assert themselves and their role
Men’s talk focuses on actions, events and themselves
Men often give orders
Men ask questions that challenge the speaker or assert their own position
Men’s Nonverbal Behaviors
Men establish less eye contact
Men use fewer facial expressions to convey emotions
Men rely on more open body positions
Men use more gestures
Men touch others more, value touch less and are touched less by others
Men use more nonverbal cues of power or status to indicate a degree of influence or control
Bridging the gender gap through increased understanding can lead to a better connection with your student.
Sources: The Supervisor’s Journal 2005-06 by Laura Dicke, PaperClip Communications; “Gender and Communication in the Not-So-9 to 5 Student Affairs Workplace,” NASPA presentation, 2000.
Majoring in Sociology...
Sociology Caro, MI
I love the small tight-knit community on campus.You always see someone you know while walking to class.Your professors know you on a first name basis. [ more ]