Communicating with Women: Tips

Right now I’m listening to the latest Church of the Customer podcast: Women’s word of mouth. (You can download the podcast via that link, but this show is generally great so I suggest you also subscribe to its feed.) The first segment features a lengthy interview with Andrea Learned, co-author of “Don’t Think Pink” (about word of mouth and women).

Although this conversation relates primarily to marketing communications, there’s ample food for thought here for people involved in any aspect of public or private communication – including weblogs, education, live discussions, etc.

Learned concluded with three key tips for marketing to women. I’ve followed each with my thoughts on how these can related to communication beyond marketing…

  1. Narrow your focus: You aren’t marketing to all women everywhere. Amy says: This is very true. Women are people too. But, as Learned notes in this interview, and as the sociolinguist Deborah Tannen has observed, women do tend to share certain preferences and practices for communication. If any part of your communication effort relies on word of mouth, public participation/discussion, or personal recommendations, you’d better believe that women will be heavily involved in (or at least heavily influencing) that part of the process.

  2. Prove that you’re listening: Women love to feel heard. In your communications, invite and utilize responses, questions, and suggestions. Then prove that you’re listening. (“You suggested X, so here’s how we’re using your advice.”) Amy says: Absolutely. I’ve noticed that in my own work online and elsewhere, being responsive is the key to building relationships – especially with women. I realize that my own responsiveness tends to be spotty when I get too busy, so this is something I’m going to pay more attention to.
  3. Be authentic: Women generally dislike communicating with faceless “entities.” Your communication should sound human. Reflect the actual people involved in your business. Be unique, be human, and sound human. Amy says: Again, I agree with this advice 100%. In fact, I’ve written about this before: How Organizations can Get Human and Credible with Blogs, Podcasts, and Journalism (audio)
    The Human Touch Matters More than Ever, and Get Human! Monolithic Voices Aren’t Credible, Especially Online – among other articles.