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Communication - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Communication. Communication. We communicate when we Ask questions Give directions Exclaim in anger/excitement Refuse to look someone in the eye Move over to make room for someone Sigh, roll our eyes, tap our feet, drum our fingers. Verbal & Nonverbal.

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We communicate when we

Ask questions

Give directions

Exclaim in anger/excitement

Refuse to look someone in the eye

Move over to make room for someone

Sigh, roll our eyes, tap our feet, drum our fingers

Verbal nonverbal
Verbal & Nonverbal

Verbal  using words to get our message across

Nonverbal  facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures, posture, touch, eye contact

Conversational dominance
Conversational Dominance

Men more often try to control conversations; they use conversation to establish status and authority, compete for attention and power

Women tend to use communication to build connections with others, to be inclusive, supportive, cooperative, and responsive

Filled pauses intrusive interruptions
Filled Pauses & Intrusive Interruptions

Filled pauses: men tend to talk more than women (:-o) and try to “hold the floor” even when they are not saying anything (e.g., “uhm”, “ah”)

Men tend to interrupt more than women

Intrusive interruptions: aimed at taking away a speaker’s turn to speak


• Interruptions take place when speakers have different conversational styles

Men interrupt, overall, more often than women

• Men interrupt other women more often than they interrupt men

• Men are more successful at taking and maintaining the floor

• Women’s interruptions take the form of questions and/or supportive statements

Speech quantity
Speech Quantity

  • Who talks more?

    • half of all survey respondents say women

    • perception is not accurate

    • women are perceived to talk more but men actually talk more often and for longer periods of time

Listening conversational maintenance
Listening & Conversational Maintenance

Girls learn at an early age to pay attention

Boys are less likely to learn these patterns but it does not mean that they are not listening

Women work to keep conversations going

Men are more likely (than women) to undermine conversations

Troubles talk
“Troubles Talk”

Some researchers suggest that women and men differ in the extent to which they provide supportive responses (e.g., when someone confides a problem)

Other researchers suggest that it may be related to femininity and masculinity more than sex or gender

Speech style
Speech Style


More likely to use proper English

More likely to use tag questions (e.g., “Isn’t that right”?)

Overall, women seem to be more tentative in communications with men (but not with other women)

Language topics
Language Topics

All-male conversations and all-female conversations “shift” when another person (of the opposite sex) joins the conversation

Is this because, as stereotypes suggest, women are always talking about relationships and men are always talking about sports?

Electronic communication
Electronic Communication

Female-only groups: more words per message, more individually oriented language, more self disclosure, more direct addressing of other individuals

Male-only groups: more monologues than dialogues

Mixed-sex groups: male conversational dominance

Men sent more messages than women

Messages were twice as long

Deborah tannen
Deborah Tannen

  • Professor of Sociolinguistics at Georgetown University

  • Selected Publications:

    • You Just Don't Understand: Women and Men in Conversation

    • Talking from 9 to 5

    • You're Wearing That?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation

Childhood communication
Childhood Communication

  • As children, we learn different ways of speaking

    • Girls rapport

    • Boys status

Adult communication
Adult Communication


Romantic relationships

EXAMPLE: The workplace

Linguistic style
Linguistic Style

  • Tone of voice

  • Rate

  • Volume

  • A person’s characteristic speaking pattern includes:

    • directness or indirectness

    • pacing and pausing

    • word choice

    • use of such elements as jokes, figures of speech, stories, questions, and apologies

Turn taking

  • One element of linguistic style is turn-taking  one speaks, another responds

  • requires a subtle negotiation of signals so that you know when it is “your turn”

    • Pauses

  • Every utterance functions on two levels

    • Language communicates ideas

    • Language negotiates relationships

Directness and indirectness
Directness and Indirectness

Commands  Statement of need/description of a situation

People with direct styles of asking see this as manipulative

Women are often indirect; men are often direct

Any individual’s ways will vary depending on who is being addressed

Pacing and pausing
Pacing and Pausing

  • Tannen identifies two broad categories of conversational style:

    • high involvement

      • characterized by a faster rate of speech, faster turn-taking, an avoidance of interturn pauses, and frequent initiations of simultaneous speech

      • high involvement speakers use simultaneous speech to build rapport and signal involvement

    • high considerateness

      • consists of slower speech, slower turn-taking, longer pauses between turns, and an avoidance of simultaneous speech

      • high considerateness speakers avoid simultaneous speech to honour the principle not to impose

Word choice
Word Choice

  • the "metamessage"  "the heart message" — the message the other person feels is behind your words

  • tone of voice, previous experiences with the person, the context in which the exchange takes place, etc.

  • regardless of how "perfectly" we compose the word message, the metamessage will speak louder

  • Women tend to be more attuned to metamessages

  • Men tend to be more attuned to messages

Other elements
Other Elements

One up, one down

  • Men say “I”

    • “I am hiring a new manager”

  • Women say “we”

    • “We are hiring a new manager”

Other elements1
Other Elements

Confidence and boasting

 women are more likely to downplay their certainty and men are more likely to minimize their doubts

Asking questions

e.g., men are less likely than women to stop and ask for directions

Women s speech
Women’s Speech

  • Tag questions

    • Midway between a question and a statement

    • “Karen is here, isn’t she?”

  • Use question forms with declarative functions

    • “What time will you be here?” “Oh, around 6:00 ...?”

    • The rising inflection indicates uncertainty, seeking confirmation

  • Use hedges

    • “Kind of”, “I guess”, “I think”, “sort of”

  • Use intensives

    • words like “so” and “very”

Conversational rituals
Conversational Rituals

“how are you”  “good”, “fine”

“where are you going”  “over there”

Differing rituals can be problematic—particularly when we think that we are all speaking the same language

Ritual communication
Ritual Communication

  • 1) Saying "I'm sorry" when you're not.

  • "I'm sorry" is not always an apology

    • Used to restore balance to a relationship

    • May mean “I am sorry that this happened to you”  

  • Studies show that, in general, women tend to use "I'm sorry" to establish or re-establish relational balance

  • Men, more hesitant to say, "I'm sorry," tend to   use it more literally, that is, to apologize and admit failure

Ritual communication con t
Ritual Communication con’t ...

  • 2) Giving Criticism

  • Women use criticism to extend concern, interest, and ownership to equals

    • Often perceived as “nagging”

  • Men use criticism in a competitive manner to challenge others to greater excellence

    • “Oh, yeah? I can do better than THAT!”

    • Among males, it demonstrates their respect for the other's competence, strength, and prowess

Ritual communication con t1
Ritual Communication con’t ...

3) Confrontation

Men are more likely to enter a direct challenge with opposition

Women prefer an indirect approach

Ritual communication con t2
Ritual Communication con’t ...

  • 4) Asking, "What Do You Think?"

  • Women use "What do you think?“ to show consideration and build rapport  

    • may be misinterpreted by others as indicating a lack confidence and decisiveness

Ritual communication con t3
Ritual Communication con’t ...

  • 5) What's So Funny?

  • Men prefer razzing, teasing, and mock-hostile attacks; Women prefer self-mocking  

  • Among same-sex individuals, shared humorous communication rituals can be rapport enhancing

  • Opposite-sex interactions, however, can be perceived as insensitive, uncaring, merciless and unnecessary

    • e.g., women who observe--or are the focus of--the male "mock attack" ritual.  

The power of talk
The Power of Talk

Communication isn’t as simple as saying

what you mean. How you say what you

mean is crucial, and differs from one

person to the next, because using

language is learned social behaviour: How

we talk and listen are deeply influenced by

cultural experience. Although we might

think that our ways of saying what we

mean are natural, we can run into trouble

if we interpret and evaluate others as if

they necessarily felt the same way we’d

feel if we spoke the way they did.

John gray
John Gray

Are Men Poor Listeners?

John gray why mars and venus collide
John Gray: Why Mars and Venus Collide

Keeping Score in Relationships

Related Videos:

Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

Nonverbal communication1
Nonverbal Communication



• Use more physical space

• Stare

• Use commanding gestures

• Hold their heads straight

• Keep a “poker face”

• Yield physical space

• Use moderate eye contact

• Use acquiescent gestures

• Tilt their heads

• Use more facial expressions


Looking at someone who is speaking is considered polite and respectful in our culture

Visual dominance: high-powered individuals tend to look at their subordinates while speaking to them but look away when listening to them


We tend to “touch downward” in a status hierarchy

Men are more likely to touch women than women are to touch men


Females have a more constricted stance, keeping their legs together and their arms and hands close to their bodies

Males spread out, occupy more space, sit and stand with their legs apart

Facial expressions
Facial Expressions

“Smile! You’ll look so much prettier!”

Personal space
Personal Space

“comfort zone”

Why gender is related to communication patterns
Why Gender is Related to Communication Patterns

Gender differences in social power

Childhood socialization

Current cultural context

Physical size