John Gray, one of the world's foremost communication experts, offers 32 tips to help you understand, respect and benefit from the differences between women and men and how they operate, both in and out of the workplace.
1. When presenting a proposal or plan of action, talk less about the problem and more about what you think should be done.
2. Be direct when you make a request. Don't talk about a problem and wait for him to offer his support. Often men feel manipulated when women are not direct. It is as if he "should do it" without your having to ask.
3. Give him more space when he moans or groans. Don't give him a pat on the back. Avoid doing anything that demonstrates a feeling of motherly empathy.
4. Get to the point when making a suggestion. Avoid talking too much about problems. Remember, men hear sharing as complaining.
5. Only complain when you have a solution to suggest. Take less time to explain the problem and quickly move on to suggest a solution.
6. After asking for his advice, be careful not to correct his solution or explain in great detail why you are not going to follow his advice. By allowing him to save face, a woman gains points.
7. Give credit and recognition whenever he has achieved something.
8. In public build him up. If you want to point out a mistake or suggest a change, do it in private.
9. Graciously interrupt in a group meeting. Don't say, "Can I say something?" Instead, go with the flow and say something more friendly like, "That's true, I think . . ."
10. Use a relaxed and trusting tone of voice when discussing work problems. Men are repelled by the tone of being emotionally overwhelmed.
11. Stay focused on the task at hand and postpone the sharing of personal feelings. Keep your work life and personal life separate.
12. When asking for support, keep your emotions out of it and focus on stating what you want. Take time to justify your request if you are asked why you need more.
13. If you must complain to your manager or coworker, be objective and avoid making value judgments like, "It's not fair" or "He isn't doing his job." Instead say, "He was three hours late. I was the only one there to do a job that requires two people."
14. If there is too much being expected of you, ask for the support you need, but don't complain. He reasons, "Don't waste time complaining, instead do something to get the support you need."
15. When making a presentation or discussing something, don't be overly eager or automatically reassuring while listening. Let him feel that he is earning your agreement and support.
16. Pace yourself. After listening to a man, let him know that something is helpful before you bring up more issues or questions.
17. Share your experience to back up a request and don't quote an expert. For example, don't say, "John Gray says you should listen to me more . . . ." Instead say, "I would appreciate it if you would listen a little longer before responding."
18. Stay on schedule. Let a man know up front how long you expect a meeting to last.
19. Distance yourself. As a manager, depersonalize your directions with comments like, "We are expected to . . ." and then ask him to do what you want with a phrase like, "Would you . . ." or "Please . . ."
20. Shake hands. When a man comes into the room and you are sitting, stand up and shake hands as equals.
21. When stress increases, act as if everything is OK. Worrying or showing concern about him can be offensive. A more relaxed response demonstrates a level of trust that says, "I'm sure you can handle it."
22. If you are in a supportive role, rather than do everything in an invisible manner, sometimes ask in a friendly tone, "Would you like me to . . ." In this way, he realizes how much you do and can give you the points you deserve.
23. Don't ask a man how he feels about something; instead ask what he thinks about something. By appreciating his logic, you can score a point.
24. Introduce yourself. In a business setting in which many people are being introduced, introduce yourself so that the male host doesn't have to remember everyone's name and introduce each person.
25. When introducing a man to others, always include his accomplishments, expertise, or role in the company.
26. When you disagree or are challenged by others in a group meeting, stick to your argument and do not digress by sharing how you personally feel. Even if you have a better point, you may be discredited because of your emotional delivery.
27. If an argument has already become emotionally charged,gracefully find a way to take a break. Say something like, "Give me some time to think about this and then let's talk again." Overcome the temptation to say, "You're not being fair." or "You are not listening to me." "Excuse me for that outburst." also works well.
28. Don't take it personally. Recognize that most men don't like being told what to do. If your job requires that you give him instructions, to minimize the inevitable tension, prepare him by saying, "Is this a good time to review some changes?" or "Let's schedule a time when we can meet. I have some changes I need to convey."
29. Be clear about the tasks you want. When dividing up projects or tasks, state clearly which ones you want or prefer. Women don't get points from men for being uncertain and saying, "What do you want to do?" You get points for clarity if you know what you want and then even more points if you make a reasonable compromise.
30. Celebrate the completion of a long or important project. Men, and women, greatly appreciate special occasions to celebrate or recognize people and their contributions. Give awards, certificates, or presents.
31. If you don't have an answer or a solution, don't let on right away. Always appear confident. Avoid the phrase, "I am still working that one out."
32. Display your awards, certificates, and degrees on the walls of your office. Display pictures of you with successful people or involved with different work projects. If a man shows interest, describe your success with a tone of confidence.
About the Author
John Gray, Ph.D. is the best-selling relationship author. His phenomenal best-selling book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus (HarperCollins 1992) has sold more than 15 million copies and is a best-seller in 40 languages throughout the world. Dr. Gray's latest book , How to Get What You Want at Work (Quill 2003), offers a practical guide for improving communication and getting results at work. For additional information, see www.MarsVenus .