In Part 2 of my chat with ‘Mr Body Language’ Allan Pease, we talked about how men’s and women’s brains are wired differently, amongst other things…
NE: So in situations where wires get crossed with someone from a different culture, whose responsibility is it to be the bigger person?
AP: Well if it’s your objective to persuade someone, it’s on you to work out what you have to do to be able to make that person feel comfortable. So if they’ve come fom another culture, or you’re going to their culture, you need to find out, first of all, what are the usual greeting and farewell rituals, how do you meet someone? Do you kiss? Do you shake hands? If so, how do you do it? By watching the locals within a culture you can see how far apart they stand, how they behave, which gives you clues as to what to do. If you’re going to persuade, the onus is upon you to learn what you need to do to make that person feel comfortable, because if they feel comfortable, and they like you, chances are they’ll give you a fair hearing and getting a fair hearing under good circumstances is all you really want in business, because then you get a chance to sell your ideas.
NE: So if something has gone wrong, you know there’s been a culture-based misunderstanding but you have no idea where you went wrong, what’s the best thing to do to? Do you bring it out into the open or sneak away quietly? What’s the best way to address it?
AP: Well the biggest cultural gap that exists in the whole world is the culture between men and women, because men and women think of the same thing very differently. In terms of how we behave, and our operating system for communicating is very different. For example, men talk in short sentences with an opening and ending – hard fact or piece of information in the middle – and then they stop at the end and they look blankly at you, and the reason they look blankly at you is because the brain-scans show that men can either speak or listen, they can’t do both. So that’s why when men talk to other men they take turns: he has a turn, I have a turn, he has a turn, I have a turn. For women, women’s brains are organised to speak and listen simultaneously. That’s why women appear all to be speaking at the same time, on several unrelated subjects, which creates serious problems in business, so a woman starts on the first subject in business, halfway through, without warning, introduces her second point. All the women listening realise that’s her second point, they knew she was going to do it.
Now they’re on the second one, but all the men think she’s still on the first one and now the men are thinking ‘what is this woman talking about?’ and they don’t know and then she brings in the third point and all the women are happy on three scores and the men have no idea what it’s about.
Now if you do this at home with a man, he’ll bring it up. He says things like ‘does this conversation have a point?’ or ‘am I supposed to be a mindreader?’ In business, we just pretend we understood it all and walk away confused. So the strategy here is, if you’re a woman, give men one thing at a time. Make a point, then stop so there’s a little gap, he knows that’s one point. Then make a second point and stop, so he knows that’s a second point.
And don’t wait for him to have his turn!
©2012 Noni Edwards. All rights reserved.