Iyanla Vanzant: Communicate With Men 'In 10 Words or Less'
The life coach pinpoints the biggest reason men and women have trouble communicating.
In her experience as a life coach and the host of "Iyanla: Fix My Life," Iyanla Vanzant has worked with countless people in need of guidance, from working with a man who fathered 34 children with 17 women, to helping Karrueche Tran sort through her tumultuous relationship with Chris Brown.
At the heart of many of these crises is one common complication that clouds the conversation, masking the real issue and making it extremely difficult to begin a healing process. That culprit? Different communication styles between men and women.
As Iyanla has witnessed, men and women take very different approaches to how they communicate -- and you don't have to be in the midst of a family crisis to risk a big communication breakdown. Even a simple conversation can go awry, and Iyanla says that women in particular have difficulty realizing that this is often due to an inherent difference in communication style.
"This is what I know about men, that women seem to have a hard time grasping," she says. "Men think in headlines. Women think in fine print."
In other words, women have a tendency to share more, explain more and describe more than men do. Men, Iyanla says, find this approach unnecessary when making a point.
"For him, five to 10 words is all that's required," she explains. "For us, it needs to be dossier and three dissertations."
Men think in headlines. Women think in fine print.
These differing styles can lead to a breakdown in communication -- and subsequently frustration. Simply being aware of this difference is an important step in bridging the communication gap, but to truly break through the conversation barriers, Iyanla suggests adopting the same approach.
"Either in communicating with men or hearing the way they communicate, [use] 10 words or less," Iyanla advises women. "Say it in 10 words or less. And he's going to give you 10 words or less that you have to decipher and figure out on your own."
But the conversation shouldn't end there. Iyanla also suggests taking an extra step to confirm the intended meaning behind those few words, helping ensure that both parties remain on the same page.
"Check in with him. 'Is this what you mean?' 'Is this what you said?' 'Is this what you want?'" Iyanla says. "Don't make it up for him. Check in, using 10 words or less."
The new season of "Iyanla: Fix My Life" premieres on Saturday, Sept. 19, at 9 p.m. ET on OWN, with an emotional, three-part episode focusing on the coming out stories of two gay pastors.
By Lisa Capretto
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