Are women better communicators than men?
In celebration of International Women’s Day, we wanted to ask an important question: are women better communicators than men?
According to a 2012 global study conducted by the University of Alabama, the Public Relations profession is comprised of approximately 70% females and 30% males. This statistic isn’t new or shocking by any means - the profession has come a long way since the propaganda spinning days of Edward Bernays where PR women were practically non-existent.
A recent statistic has been circulating online claiming women talk three times as much as men, using 20,000 words a day compared to men's 7,000. Although there’s no scientific study supporting this claim, there is validity in the fact that girls learn to speak earlier than boys.
The proof lies in the way words are processed. Girls show greater activity in brain areas implicated specifically in language encoding, which decipher information abstractly. Boys, on the other hand, show a lot of activity in regions tied to visual and auditory functions.
Either way – women may or may not speak more than men – but that still doesn’t prove women are better communicators.
When the PR Daily asked readers who they thought were better communicators, results found: Both genders can suck at communicating.
“Some men are great communicators; some women suck at it, and vice versa,” said T.J. Dietderich, a marketer for TimeToPlay.com.
Aaron Perlut, managing partner of Elasticity, a St. Louis-based digital marketing and public relations agency, thinks a woman’s ability to communicate gives her a unique skill in PR and marketing. “Women are far more willing to explore their depths of feelings and discuss their feeling than men might be,” he said. “I view that as a very positive thing—being able to shape that willingness to articulate into the way an audience wishes to receive a message can be a great asset.”
“There’s a lot of science delving into what PR and marketing people do,” Perlut said, “but it really comes down to your willingness to understand your target audience.”
Does it comes down to empathy?
Women are genetically more empathic than men. They share their feelings, want to know what you think and pay attention to what you say; they innately communicate more effectively.
Sarah Skerik, the vice president of social at PR Newswire, agrees with the empathy element. “The best communicators, in my opinion, are people who have a lot of empathy for their audience, and can deliver what their audience needs,” she said.
So, do women genetically have the upper hand when it comes to careers in Public Relations? Talking more doesn’t mean communicating more effectively - so who cares (get it?)!
Either way, here’s to celebrating strong, hard-working, professional females!