If I told you that most women don’t speak the language that men understand and get upset when their needs aren’t being met, would you agree?
As the only female in my family (expect for my dog) I did not realize how much more effective my communication skills with three sons and husband could have been if I had learned how to speak, “Men-glish.” No, this is not a joke, I’m serious. I could have had results when I asked instead of “nagging” for things to get done around the house. But fortunately, it’s not too late. I listened to Alison Armstrong speak at the “Inside Edge” about effective communication with males, whether at home or in the work place, and bottom line, there is a huge difference between the way men and women communicate and how they interpret what they hear.
Alison Armstrong started studying men, twenty years ago, Like so many women she thought:
- Men don’t care.
- Men were actively withholding it.
She soon discovered how much men want women to have what they need and that women don’t know how to ask for what they need. The problem, according to Alison, is that:
- Women need to ask for what they need.
- Women need to stop asking for what they want.
One problem is that most women say, “But I don’t know if I deserve what I need?” A lot of this stems from their upbringing and how their own mothers used guilt; for example, “Do you know how much I’ve sacrificed for you?” which explains why women sometimes have trouble asking for what they need. Alison believes that women don’t ask for what they need (like attention) because of these issues of (not) deserving.
- Women and men don’t ask for what they need so the other person can understand.
- Men often exert so little pressure that their partner didn’t realize they were asking and interpreted it as simply “sharing.”
- Women have a tendency to ask-ask-ask-ask, the same thing over and over again, so men tune out and think they’re “nagging.
Alison says a woman needs to ask herself, “Do I really need this?” first before she follows through with the four steps below.
We need to go from Ask to Enforce to get what we need.
(Level of escalation) is marked with numbers
- Ask (3)
- Insist (5)
- Demand (7)
- Enforce (10)
Have a great ASK. For example, “I need you to organize your closet.” (if you’re talking to a teenager.)
INSIST, is a reiteration of ASK adding, “Was there something you needed to get it done?
DEMAND, “I asked, gave you what you needed, but you didn’t get it done. I want to give you another chance, but if you don’t want to, then you go to ENFORCE.
There are 4 element to a great ASK.
- I need______ (simple statement)
- It looks like______ (what, when, how often, by when) describe details. Most couples assume the other person knows what this means and looks like. Describe it. For example if you want more affection, describe what theat means to you. Don’t assume the other person knows.
- It would provide______ (give, allow, create, results, qualities) Explain this is why it matters to me. Alison gave the example of what she said to her small kids. “If you let mom sleep until 7, mom will be more patient.” Let the other person know what’s in it for them.
- What do you need to give me what I need?______(This is the partner question.)
You can also ask your partner, “What’s your favorite way to be asked?”
or “What do you need to give me what I need?”
I experimented yesterday with my husband and it worked. Instead of say, “Can you check out…..” which is usually how I ask my husband, I said, “I need you to check out….” and he did it right away, which avoided all the nagging.
Do you already know how to communicate efficiently with men, your spouse, your kids?
If you’re a guy, do you agree that you prefer to be asked directly, with a “I need you to…?”
Please don’t forget to call in with your questions today, September 22nd, at 4pm PST with expert Robert MacPhee. Check out how and why