Let’s face it men and women are monumentally different in every way, but we need to figure out how to communicate especially since we are in businesses together, partnerships, marriages and even co-parents for our children. We need effective ways to communicate and bridge the gender gap. Here are 5 solid and easy to understand ways to improve the communication between you and your partner:

1. When you need to have a serious discussion (needing full attention) instead of sitting across the table from him, sit next to him. That might sound odd to most people but recent studies have shown that men need less intense eye contact when they are dealing with an important issue. Men ideally need to be able to feel like they need an ‘out’ in the sense that they are not trapped and being over analyzed while they are processing the information coming at them.

Women would benefit from this position too because when sitting next to, rather than across from, there is a sense of closeness that can be achieved. And because this is an effective way for him to communicate, then the woman wins his attention and focus, and both feel safe.

2. Set up ground rules. This means acknowledging that we both speak different languages but we need to communicate in one. Being very upfront about what you need from the discussion before it even begins helps each partner feel comfortable with the agreed expectations. Women need to be able to say “I don’t need you to solve my problem, I need you to really listen” and men need to be able to say “please give me your bottom line, what are you really trying to say to me? Men often feel that women beat around and the bush and have trouble centering on a main issue. Men need the patience and women need to be direct.

3. Don’t wait until either of you has a long laundry list of grievances. This is important because if you want to accomplish a goal in communicating, overloading the discussion with several issues can be tough on both parties. It isn’t fair to think you are dealing with one issue and several issues come into the discussion making a direct line of communication almost impossible. Cover one issue at a time and discuss it calmly so that a resolution can be discovered. Don’t wait until you are so angry that no matter what the other person says, it will feel ‘wrong’.

4. It is your responsibility to make sure your message (and the way you intend on it being received) is received the way you need it to be heard. This requires a bit of forethought and empathy. It is very important that what you say is exactly what is heard by your partner. This means you need to first think about what you need to say, and then you need to think about how the other person will interpret what you’re saying. For example, if I want my partner to hear how I feel about something that bothers me, I need to make sure he/she doesn’t feel attacked or feel as though what I am saying is just said to criticize. To help avoid further complications, it is always safe to start by saying “I feel this when…” or “when you do or say that, it makes me feel this…” Remember the object is to find common ground and to feel heard.

5. Think before you speak. Taking the time to really understand your own feelings about an issue puts you in a better position to get your point across succinctly and without a ton of emotion. When you think before you speak, especially on difficult matters, you become more powerful in your position. Thinking things out (identifying both perspectives) takes the reaction out of the issue. Possessing internal clarity will always help you communicate and if you think before you speak then you are giving yourself a chance to see the issue and your own feelings clearly before you start.

Men and women are wired differently. We all know this to be true, but there are ways that we can communicate better. Small, thoughtful ways that will help us understand each other and lesson the pain of broken communication. These ways are not rocket science, but they work. They are tested and true in how I relate to all the men in my world.

Author's Bio: 

Sarah was born in Boston, MA, raised in New York City and graduated from the University of Connecticut with two degrees. She obtained her degrees in Communications and Psychology. Through her own personal tragedies and struggles Sarah married young and had two beautiful girls. Even though her marriage failed, her devotion to her graduate education and her girls was unsurpassed. With her Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in analyzing foreign markets, and a new career opportunity in MD, she moved to MD where she met and fell in love with Enrique. Today, Sarah lives in Maryland with her husband and their children, researching, writing and publishing articles and books