Gender differences in nonverbal communication
Remember Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus?
Romantic relationships are one thing, but no one talks much about how Mars and Venus fare at work. In fact, there are significant verbal and nonverbal differences in the way the two genders get their messages across in the office.
Verbal Communication Differences
In the area of verbal communication, men tend to speak more concisely while women tend to elaborate or explain their points of view. Men tend to assert their ideas as if they are fact, while women tend to phrase their ideas as questions and add disclaimers (“I might be wrong…”) or hedges (“Maybe”).
Men engage in verbal bantering and derogatory comments to establish rapport while women think a certain level of formality is more appropriate. Men make demands of the team while women try to gain consensus first. Men want to talk about plan specifics while women want to talk about needs and feelings.
Men don’t give positive feedback as frequently, whereas women think it’s important for reports to feel valued. Men more often make decisions based on careful analysis of the facts, whereas women are more likely to spot the right decision quickly, often as a result of intuition.
Non-Verbal Communication Differences
On the non-verbal side of the equation, women tend to smile a lot while men remain poker-faced. Women nod to indicate understanding, while men nod to indicate agreement. Women stand face-to-face to reflect engagement and shoulder-to-shoulder to reflect disengagement. Men stand face-to-face to reflect aggression and shoulder-to-shoulder to reflect collaboration. In a work setting, women often contract to make themselves seem smaller, whereas men do the opposite and often expand their presence to fill the room.
Getting on the Same Page
Fortunately, there are things both women and men can do to improve their effectiveness in communicating with the opposite gender. Let’s start with the women. Women can speak in a strong voice even when they don’t feel confident, concisely explaining the factual reasons behind their ideas and decisions, excusing themselves promptly if they feel their emotions getting the best of them, asking a man whose approach they are questioning to help them understand the rationale behind it, and steering clear of interpersonal criticism unless it’s absolutely necessary.
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What is the difference between verbal and nonverbal forms of communication
Verbal is when you are speaking with someone, non verbal is the body language; gestures, movements, unconsious things you do when you like/dislike/whatever to something