Dr. Deborah Tannen: Solving the communications battle of the sexes.

Deborah Tannen is still my favorite communications expert (so this is more or less a shameless plug of her work) and here’s precisely why: You Just Don’t Understand: Men and Women in Conversation.

That’s what started it for me, anyway. Dr. Tannen covers everything from male-female communication in the workplace and in social situations to family dynamics and that scary mother-daughter thing. Her advice is concrete and usable. She explains why we tend to communicate the way we do, investigates the social and genetic influences on speech, and lays out how better to listen and understand.

And the thing is, her observations are so accurate and astute that they just might affect your life. If you want to see how and why, here’s an excerpt from some of her writing for a quick look.

Before the next time you want to ask a woman “Why didn’t you just say that?” or want to yell “You aren’t listening!” at your favorite man, it might be worth your while to investigate these books.

Good luck, all the same.


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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It seems every action in a relationship gets a response somewhere between ‘thank you’ and ‘what were you thinking.’ The goal is to crowd more toward the ‘thank you.’ If it’s not, then someone needs their wiring checked, just don’t point fingers.

    Thank you,



  2. Thanks, David.

    Do you meant that we tend to look for fault in others while communicating, or that we should generally check the health of our relationships?

    — Anne

  3. Muted Group Theory…

    Women and members of other subordinate groups are not as free or able as men to say what they wish because their words have been formulated and translated by a male-dominated style of communication…….

    • Indeed, that’s an ongoing discussion. One of the most powerful alterations I made to my own speech after studying this point was to drop qualifiers (“I think” “I wonder if” and “Maybe we should,” for example) from my business conversations.

      You’re correct that there is still a communications wall to breach but that modification was an excellent start for me.

      Here’s an expanded version of Muted Group Theory’s point: http://theglaringfacts.com/muted-group-theory/

      Thanks for posting!

  4. […] Dr. Deborah Tannen: Solving the communications battle of the sexes. […]

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