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CIPD Speaker: Men don’t have the brains to talk properly


Men only have 10% of women’s speaking ability according to Allan Pease the Australian born body-language expert speaking at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) National Conference in Harrogate. Pease claims that women use 60% to 80% of their brains to communicate which is why they excel in this area.

Pease claims that women’s increased verbal communication skills leave them better placed to compete for new knowledge economy jobs. Pease the author of best-selling book, ‘Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Don’t Read Maps’ says that women use five different tones whilst communicating although men only pick up on three of them! It is through these tones that women are able to steer conversations in different directions and multi-track information – a useful facility in people centred jobs such as sales or recruitment. Pease claims that men’s brains are better equipped for single item attention, that is they are limited to doing one thing at a time.

Women are also taking to the new management style of coaching and mentoring with ease, especially with its emphasis on encouragement, persuasion and one-to-one relationship building. Over 30% of management positions in the UK now go to women and the figure is increasing.

Pease commented that there shouldn’t be any surprise in the trends and that evolution of men’s brain’s and women’s brains was different, so that they had different abilities. Men’s activities have centred on the hunter-gatherer function and in line with this their brains have developed to include spatial assessment and goals. Women on the other hand are nurterers and have relied on close relationships with other females where communication and a closer focus were to the fore.

This manifests these days in seeing men concentrating on solving problems and achieving targets which don’t require communication. The role of hunting and chasing animals is seen in a predilection for sport such as football where there is physical activity, an element of chasing and (excuse the pun) an end goal or target to be reached.

Women on the other hand are far more used to the social situation and find themselves wanting to interact and talk. They talk to reward and build relationships. If a woman likes you she will want to talk. In a female-male relationship however, if there is a mis-match, there is a tendency for the woman to talk and the man to ‘not talk’ and the result is the one way verbal onslought – often called nagging!

Pease argues that there is a task for men here in that they need to learn from women’s extensive verbal skills and vocabularies. Team building and communication are becoming increasingly important to businesses, and if they don’t wake up to that fact they will fall behind. The danger is that men will see the problem as being one for ‘the next guy’ and never a problem that they have to tackle themselves.

As Pease says, “Men must stop being fed up with women talking, and realise that developing good communication skills is an asset and not a handicap. Women need to realise that men cannot cope with verbal onsloughts and need to try and meet them halfway – and only give them one thing at a time to do.”

Julie Clarke of Butterworth’s Tolley said that she finds the book fascinating. “It explains my need to keep turning a map around so that I can see the roads running in the right direction”, she said.

“It also explains why men are sometimes a little questioning about women drivers. Their spatial analysis means that they drive with their eyes based more on the horizon and ahead, which also means that they are more suseptible to collisions from the side.”

“On the other hand” said Julie, “Women centre themselves on the immediate surroundings with a closer focus of activity. If they are going to have an accident in a car it’s likely to be from running into the back of another vehicle!”

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