Gender Differences in Communication
All of us have different styles of communicating with other people. Our style depends on a lot of things: where we're from, how and where we were brought up, our educational background, our age, and it also can depend on our gender. Generally speaking, men and women talk differently although there are varying degrees of masculine and feminine speech characteristics in each of us. But men and women speak in particular ways mostly because those ways are associated with their gender.
The styles that men and women use to communicate have been described as "debate vs. relate", "report vs. rapport, or "competitive vs. cooperative". Men often seek straightforward solutions to problems and useful advice whereas women tend to try and establish intimacy by discussing problems and showing concern and empathy in order to reinforce relationships.
Jennifer Coates, in her book Women, Men and Language (New York: Longman Inc., 1986) studied men-only and women-only discussion groups and found that when women talk to each other they reveal a lot about their private lives. They also stick to one topic for a long time, let all speakers finish their sentences and try to have everyone participate. Men, on the other hand, rarely talked about their personal relationships and feelings but "competed to prove themselves better informed about current affairs, travel, sport, etc.". The topics changed often and the men tried to "over time, establish a reasonably stable hierarchy, with some men dominating conversation and others talking very little".
Dr. Lillian Glass' book He Says, She Says: Closing the Communication Gap Between the Sexes (The Putnam Berkeley Group) details her findings on the many differences in the way men and women communicate, both verbally and non-verbally. You can have a look at what she thinks are the differences in:
BODY LANGUAGE FACIAL EXPRESSION
SPEECH PATTERNS BEHAVIOUR