Secret ways with words and numbers

Oct 25 2002 by Brian Amble Print This Article

"The enormous capacity women have for chatter is one of the most difficult concepts for most men to understand," according to Allan Pease, Australian born human relations and body language guru speaking at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development's National Conference in Harrogate.

He reiterates some of the advice set out in Why Men Lie and Women Cry, the new book authored jointly with wife Barbara Pease, which offers practical guidance on how men and women might stop miscommunicating and start dramatically improving their key personal and business relationships.

Pease says that because women evolved in a group situation with other women and children close to the cave, the ability to bond through talking was paramount to survival. When males were hunting or fishing, no one talked for fear of startling the prey.

Says Pease: "When modern man goes fishing, or watches a football game, he still doesn't say much. When modern women go gathering (shopping) they still constantly chatter."

Pease has been collecting and recording responses to surveys about how men and women communicate for over a decade. He urges men to understand that the main purpose of a woman's 'talk' is to talk. No solutions are required.

Women, he argues, need to explain to men that they just want to talk and do not want solutions. He adds: "When a woman wants to punish a person she will stop talking. But this tactic doesn't work on men, who actually feel the added peace and quiet to be a bonus."

Pease shows that brain scans demonstrate how a woman's brain is highly utilised in speech and language functions. A female brain can effortlessly output 6,000 to 8,000 spoken words a day, using both sides of the brain. Meanwhile a man's maximum output is around 2,000 to 4,000 spoken words, using only part of the left brain. He says: "A working man can exhaust his word output by mid afternoon, then arrive home to a woman who may still have 4,000 to 5,000 words to go!"

Please also notes that to men, women often seem vague or beat around the bush rather than getting straight to the point, known as "indirect speech"

Pease makes the serious point that when a woman uses indirect speech in business, it can prove problematic because men may have difficulty following a multi-tracked, indirect conversation.

"In business a woman needs to talk to a man with direct speech. Give him timetables, agendas, bottom line answers and deadlines. Women need to be direct with men in business and give them one thing at a time to consider. When she speaks indirectly, most men pretend they understand"