How Blunt Should You Be?

I’ve talked about this before from my personal perspective so I found this article about shocking men into going to the doctors right on point. But, I think this begs a great question…

“Should you communicate differently with men and women?”

My short answer is yes. In reality, it doesn’t always make a difference, but there are lots of times when it does. I’m not sure I’m ready to bet the farm on shocking messages to men all the time, but I would love to try that. Imagine an adherence message that told them they were improving their likelihood of death by 27% by not taking their medications. Or, a message about going to get a prostate exam which pointed out how many people die per year.

Most healthcare companies keep the gloves on when delivering messages. They are trying to motivate them, but they are hesitant to be too blunt (or direct). I’m sure that generally makes sense, but sometimes you just have to catch someone’s attention to get them to act.

Telling someone they are overweight and should start to workout and diet is very different than saying they are obese and are likely to die in their 50s if they don’t change their lifestyle immediately.

Related story – Top 5 Reasons That Men Don’t Go To The Doctor

2 Responses to “How Blunt Should You Be?”

  1. Absolutely – women and men have different fears and motivations which are deeply rooted in our psyches. In some of my previous research into consumer buying behavior we found that women would buy safety features on cars as they were “afraid of being stranded on the side of the road” whereas men were more skeptical of buying them as their egos took over and they never believed they’d need them – unless they were incapacitated and thus unable to care for themselves. The message including tone, cadence and positioning are all essential in communicating to men and women differently.

  2. I think men handle bad news a little better than women. Men prefer the, “Just give me the facts and tell me what to do to fix it or improve my lifespan.”. Women prefer to be brought the news in a gentle way and understand their emotional need in addition to the facts.

    Let me refer to a UCLA study:

    One of the most basic behavioral differences between men and women is how they respond to stress. UCLA researchers found that men often react to stress with a “fight-or-flight” response, but women are more likely to manage their stress with a “tend-and-befriend” response.

    Psychology professor and lead researcher Shelley E. Taylor points out that this stress response is seen in many species. Females respond to stressful conditions by protecting and nurturing their young (the “tend” response), and by seeking social contact and support from others – especially other females (the “befriend” response).

    Can you tell I’m married for 12 years? I’ve know that women don’t want you to be blunt – here some quick questions:

    Does this dress make me look fat?
    Have I gained weight?
    Is it OK that I bought this $100 dress today, it was on sale from $400?
    Do I do enough around the house while you work all day?

    Jason Monroe

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