Men are different – that’s pretty obvious, but no more so than in business. Sometimes I wonder if we occasionally forget this.
I’ve had to deal with a lot of men in my business career over the years, and have learned a few things along the way. Here’s my advice on what to take note of, and how to deal with them. Of course, this will not apply in every case but I think it will help in many cases.
Men are about reporting, women about building rapport. Men are focused on the facts, and success and the results, whereas women tend to focus on the personal connection. When dealing with men, don’t spend a heap of time trying to build a connection – they simply are not interested. Men use communication to share information, show expertise or solve a problem – little more.
Men are happy being a decision maker; women prefer reaching a consensus. To get a man’s respect, he just wants you to make a decision and not necessarily ask him to cast a vote or ask him to share his preference.
Men use fewer words; women use more. A man doesn’t want to be on the phone with you an hour – be concise and to the point. And the same with your emails, if you make it pages long, he’s going to lose focus after about the first paragraph. My tactic might be to email more often but each is very brief, and use dot points.
Men don’t beat around the bush. Sometimes they can be downright hurtful, but try not to take it personally. They rarely know how to communicate something negative in a positive way; realise this and that they are not meaning to hurt your feelings – they are purely providing feedback – in their direct way.
Men rarely change topic; women jump from topic to topic. If you are having a discussion with a man, keep on topic. If there is a second topic to discuss, finish the first cleanly and move on. If you jump from place to place, you will lose them; that especially applies if you are presenting a proposal.
Men take a nod being agreement, not just you’re listening. When women listen, they nod. It’s not a nod of acceptance or agreement, just that you are hearing. Men perceive these nobs as your approval and then later if you vote the other way or disagree, they are bewildered.
Men don’t share their problems. Whilst women share more and will openly discuss a problem, don’t share a problem with a man, unless you are willing to accept his advice on what he believes will be the solution. Sharing to vent won’t work for the man – if you share, he will believe it’s to seek his help.
Men take less time to develop a relationship. Women take up to 10 times longer to develop trust and build a business relationship than a man. Invest your time in the right proportion to its likely success.
A man doesn’t hold a grudge. This is one aspect of working with men I love. You can have a stand up argument with a man and 10 minutes later, he behaves as if nothing happened. So remember he is not holding a grudge, so don’t do so either. He probably won’t even realise why you are cranky at him!
Men are more likely to purchase a business & women take less risk. If you have a high risk venture (which presumably will have high returns), target a male audience, as women prefer a low risk venture. Interestingly, women are less likely to purchase a business, so again, if you are selling a business a male audience may be a better target market for you.
As I said, we are different in many ways and whilst a female will likely see female traits as better, there are some definite advantages of working with men (and I am trying to keep it G-rated).
While statistically 65% of new businesses are being started by women, the male component of people in business is a high proportion – so work out how a man ticks and talk his language, walk his walk and you will get the most from the business relationship. I’m not saying change who you are, just understand who HE is.
Donna contributes articles at Motherpedia.
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