'CONNECTIONS' N E W S L E T T E R F O R W O M E N JULY 19, 2004 VOLUME 1, #2 Dear %%%fname%%% Welcome to the second edition of my newsletter. The first went out a month ago (already - time flies!). It was really well received - thanks to all of you, who sent me messages of support, and replies to the questionnaire - a few of these responses are reproduced, below. Here is the index to this newsletter: 1. "What Do You Mean Dear?" Pondering communication between men and women. 2. Gender Relations: Book Reviews 3. Questionnaire - some replies. 4. Help Me, Please - again! 5. 'Coping With Your Caveman' - successful launch. Roger Knowles 1. WHAT DO YOU MEAN DEAR? The biggest obstacle to peaceful relations between men and women, is the challenge of spoken communication, we have very different conversational styles. Men speak to convey information, while women to speak to form, or nurture, relationships. I know that I am in danger of stereotyping men and women here, but it is worth the risk because the trends are so powerful, and the gender styles are so diverse. When it comes to the spoken word, men are simple, and direct. They say what they mean, and use far fewer words then women do. The message may be blunt to the point of being insensitive, but it will probably not have any hidden meanings. A man will call a spade a spade. By contrast, women are complex, and indirect, in their spoken communication. A woman may speak just to make the other person feel noticed, or wanted - the meaning of the words may be incidental to this central intention. An example is the lengthy discussion about the weather, when acquaintances meet. This is a 'girl thing' - men only bother with a discussion of this nature, when it is important. For example, weather might be important to farmers, or it may affect the outcome of a sporting event. Then, men will take it seriously. The aspect of women's communication which mainly confuses men, is indirect speech. Women do not always say exactly what they mean. They hint at it, expecting a man to be able to 'listen between the lines', as it were. Men do not follow this mode of communication, at all. They simply do not have the ability as women do, to understand 'meta-meanings'. A meta-meaning is a meaning which is added to the plain meaning of the words. For example, a wife may say to her husband who is driving their car while on a long journey, "Do you want a cup of coffee?" She does not expect him to answer simply 'yes', or 'no'. She expects him to understand that she wants a cup of coffee! Furthermore, she feels neglected and unloved when he simply replies "no, thanks". A man finds this very difficult to understand. To communicate more effectively with a man, women should try not to use indirect forms of communication. There is excellent coverage of the issue of direct and indirect speech in the book which is reviewed below. 2. GENDER RELATIONS: BOOK REVIEWS "Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps" by Allan and Barbara Pease. The husband-and-wife team wrote and published this book in 1998/9, but it is still one of the best books available on the differences between men and women. Quoting from the first chapter: "Our aim is to look objectively at male and female relationships, explain the history, meanings and implications involved and to develop techniques and strategies for a happier and more fulfilling way of life." The book is comprehensive, in terms of the wide scope that it covers. From brain structure to the nature-of-nurture debate, they explain the latest research, opinions and methods used to investigate the different behaviour and natures of men and women. The language is easy to understand. Written by two Australians, the book is quite culture-specific, but the information would be useful to people of different cultures; after all, the differences between men and women constitute the biggest culture gap of all! The book is a classic. I would not be surprised if the author of "Defending The Cave Man" read this book before he wrote the script - so much of the material resonates with the content of that popular show. This is however not a book for serious students, it is more of a light-hearted introduction to a vast and complex subject. Nevertheless, a serious read for people who wish to understand their mates, and make their relationships work. The problem as always, is to try to persuade men to read it - the average man thinks that "relationship stuff" is only for women! 3. HELP ME, PLEASE - AGAIN! I really do appreciate any thoughts or advice and, stories especially - on the subject of relationships, and communication between men and women. Please keep the replies coming. In particular, I am shortly to conduct a workshop for male employees at Msunduzi Municipality, to give them some insight into the mysteries of the female mind. This will be the first of many, I hope. Please assist me, as follows: What would you want men to know, as regards; What women in the workplace would like men to know; The best ways for men and women to improve working relationships; Take-home information to improve relationships between the genders. I have read, and am using, a number of books but do you know of one in particular, which gives a really succinct explanation f "What Women Would Like Men to Know About Women"? Any ideas will be welcome. 4. QUESTIONNAIRE - SOME REPLIES. Here are a few quotes from replies sent to me in response to the questionnaire attached to the first edition of 'Connections': Do you have sons? "A boy dog and he also took a long time to mature! " Have you developed, or heard of, any effective methods of dealing with the mystery of male behaviour? "I call it 'husbandology' don t always let the left hand know what the right hand is doing!" "They're only men - when all else fails, lower your expectations." "Men are like clouds - sooner or later they bugger off and it turns into quite a nice day." 5. "COPING WITH YOUR CAVEMAN" "Coping With Your Caveman" is my new seminar for women. The prototype was launched at a breakfast for Professional Conference Organisers in Durban, last week. Thanks to Cheryl and the staff at Durban Country Club for an excellent breakfast in the lovely 'Athlone Room'. The response was really great - I already have bookings coming in, for the short version (30 - 40 minutes) and the longer version (90 minutes) of this talk. I look forward to showcasing it in other cities, and intend to present it at public seminars, in a few weeks time. The response has also prompted me to write a similar presentation for men - i.e. light-hearted in presentation style, but intended to convey serious content. Any takers? 6. SUBSCRIBE / UNSUBSCRIBE Should you wish to be removed from this mailing list, please follow the links on the bottom of the page and unsubscribe online and we promise never to bother you again!!!