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Where Are the Blokes?

Where Are the Blokes?

Today’s post is not so much a personal development ‘lesson’ as it is a discussion and exploration into how men and women are wired; a look at something which interests me. As always, I don’t have all the answers but I do have plenty of questions and thoughts. Being as I’m not a female (mostly), I may be completely off track… so feel free to enlighten me, ladies.

    As a scientist, personal development bloke and fascinated observer of people, I love to see what people do (and don’t do) and then try to figure why they do (or don’t do) whatever it is that they’re doing. Or not doing. As the case may be. Or not be. If you know what I mean. Hey, don’t you complain… I’m confused and I’m writing it!

    Anyway, there’s two interesting observations I’ve made lately.

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    Observation 1
    In most of my open-to-the-public workshops (as opposed to my corporate gigs) the vast majority of my audience is typically women. The weekend just past we ran a ‘Renovate Your Life’ workshop and over eighty percent of the attendees were of the more attractive and sweeter smelling gender. A couple of weeks ago I gave an open-to-the-public keynote presentation (health, fitness, lifestyle, psychology stuff) in a large fitness centre and nearly ninety percent(!) of the audience were women. These kinds of percentages are pretty common for my presentations. Now, if I was a young, good-looking, stud-muffin with a six-pack and a severe case of Brad-Pitt-itis that might give us some insight into the skewed numbers, but clearly I’m not, and clearly, people are coming along for the information, the motivation and the education. Even when I do a presentation where many of the people in the audience don’t really know who I am, we still have a much higher percentage of women book in and attend.

    Observation 2
    The vast majority of commentors on personal development sites are women. While it varies a little from article to article, the ratio of female to male contributors is quite amazing. Recently I took a stroll through some of my past posts and the percentage of female commentors is regularly up around the ninety percent mark.

    So the obvious question is, “why does this happen and what does it tell us?”

    You’re right; that’s actually two questions.

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    Well, I’m not really sure but I’ll throw around a few possibilities…

      1. All the men are out hunting.
      2. Only a very small percentage of men can read and write.
      3. What I write or speak about isn’t applicable to the males of the species.
      4. I’m not manly enough to connect with the blokes.
      5. Women need more help than men.
      6. I don’t write enough articles about monster trucks or cage fighting.

      Naaah, probably not.

      Perhaps…

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      1. A higher percentage of blokes (higher than ten percent that is) actually read my stuff but they are not as comfortable commenting as the ladies.
      2. Growing up, blokes are not ‘trained’ to talk about relationships, feelings, emotions, fears, weaknesses, problems.. etc.
      3. Perhaps some guys consider having a need for ‘personal development’ to be a sign of weakness (which would make me… pathetic).
      4. Blokes don’t have the same level of emotional intelligence or awareness as the girls. Or maybe they just don’t show it.

      Or possibly…

      1. Women are simply more aware and more in touch with their emotional selves.
      2. Women are more prepared to admit (and deal with) flaws, weaknesses and destructive habits and behaviours.
      3. Women are more proactive (about creating positive change) while blokes are more reactive – they wait for the catastrophe to happen and then slip into their Superman outfit.
      4. One of my (female) staff suggested that women ‘search’ more because overall they’re not as happy as men. Don’t yell at me – a woman told me that.

      Maybe…

        1. The way I communicate resonates more with women.
        2. Perhaps the site needs less photos of sunsets and more images of blokes and their power tools.
        3. Women just like talking.

        A final thought…

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        Maybe some of us alpha-male-warriors need to climb down from the security of our monster trucks and go and see Sex and the City tonight.

        Or perhaps give another bloke a hug.

        Help a confused male out; let me know your thoughts on this perplexing issue.

        I’m off to hunt.

        Er, I mean do Yoga.

        More by this author

        Craig Harper

        Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

        Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life? Do You Make These 10 Common Mistakes Before Weighing Yourself? If your Childhood Sucked – It’s Time to Stop Blaming Your Parents! Exploring Relationships with the Single Weirdo Education Should be More than Academic Basics

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        1 19 Golden Pieces of Relationship Advice From the Experts 2 Signs Of Low Self-Esteem And The Root Causes You Might Not Know 3 How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship 4 How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future 5 This Is What Happens When You Move Out Of the Comfort Zone

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        Last Updated on May 21, 2019

        How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

        How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

        For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

        If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

        Example 1

        You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

        You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

        In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

        Example 2

        You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

        People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

        You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

        Example 3

        You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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        The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

        Example 4

        You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

        Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

        If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

        Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

        • Understand your own communication style
        • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
        • Communicate with precision and care
        • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

        1. Understand Your Communication Style

        To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

        In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

        Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

        2. Learn Others Communication Styles

        Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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        If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

        “How do you prefer to receive information?”

        This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

        To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

        3. Exercise Precision and Care

        A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

        On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

        Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

        I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

        I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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        In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

        The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

        Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

        4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

        Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

        In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

        “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

        Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

        Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

        It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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        It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

        It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

        Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

        Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

        The Bottom Line

        When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

        I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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        Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

        Reference

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