Four Ways Women Can Influence Men

This is a guest post by Lisa Whittle, an author, speaker, and blogger. She is also active on Twitter and Facebook. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

Becoming the first ever solo-female author under the acclaimed George Barna literary imprint intimidated me. Can I influence men? Can I play in the boy’s field? I had all these thoughts when I was offered a contract for this new writing project.

Happy businesswoman with colleagues in the background - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Yuri_Arcurs, Image #10361595

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Yuri_Arcurs

Until this time, my “tribe” consisted mainly of women. Although I am a strong woman, I was not sure I could adapt my leadership style in order to connect with men. Thankfully, I have.

In the intervening months, I have learned four tactics:

  1. Understand men’s need for brevity. I learned very quickly in working with men that I would need to find a way to say a lot in a few words. (You might think that being married, I would have already known this.) But the reality is that females tend to be wordy. Men cut to the chase. If I was going to be successful in influencing men, I needed to respect their need for brevity.
  2. Connect to a universal need. While we do not share gender, we do share many other human needs. We both search for significance. We both have a need to define ourselves outside of our roles. We both desire to be loved and appreciated. Connecting to a universal need is an important aspect of influence—with both genders. But it is especially as it relates to women influencing men.
  3. Don’t apologize for your growing influence. More than ever, women are becoming influencers in less traditional venues. The church is even using women in a vibrant, new way. It is an exciting opportunity for women to use their unique voice to share truth. Men who embrace this will benefit, just as the women who embrace it will. But first, women have to own their growing influence, without apologizing for it.
  4. Show them truth from your life. Regardless of their gender, when women offer truth from the wellspring of their own life experience, it resonates. Truth is truth. Therefore, being more intentional about sharing our life experiences is a way to expand our influence and connect in a meaningful way.

Women have been influencing men for years, in society as well as in the home. But it is my conviction that in the coming years, I believe this will only grow. The key for women is to learn how best to translate that influence to reach both women and men.

When that happens, everyone wins.

Question: What have you learned about how women can best influence men? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://mirrorsandwindowsnow.blogspot.com/ Alicha

    Thanks for the post, Lisa! Boy, did I need the “wordiness” reminder! My husband is a master at getting to the point…I’m going to start heeding how he does this a bit more.

    • http://www.lisawhittle.com Lisa R Whittle

      Alicha…I’ve learned this from my husband, as well. He was really the first person to encourage me to tap into this need from my male audience. Grateful for the perspective, as the guys have echoed this need in their responses!

  • Jackie Ley

    I’ve found men appreciate female attention to detail. If we can help them think through on the implications of a proposal without just throwing up possible negatives, then this increases our influence.

    • http://www.lisawhittle.com Lisa R Whittle

      True, Jackie. Many women are detail-oriented, which is fantastic for the guys around us.

  • http://www.fbcgallatin.org/Larry/ Larry Yarborough, Jr.

    Women are high influencers in our lives and that doesn’t make all men boys looking for their mommas.

    Your point of brevity hits home most for me. Right now we only have one female ministerial staff member. She’s effective, respectful and no one ever feels that their ever on emotional egg shells around her. Truth is, she’s probably walking on more egg shells around us.

    You know what they say, behind every successful man is a woman … rolling her eyes.
    LY

    • http://www.lisawhittle.com Lisa R Whittle

      Thanks for this, Larry. So glad the brevity point hit home…enjoy knowing you have a great woman on your team.

  • http://www.forthesakeoftuth.ca Donna Lowe

    I am a speaker. For some time, I would only speak to groups of women. I was, to be honest, intimidated by most men. Especially in a corporate setting.

    When my own book was published my influence, in the lives of many men, increased exponentially. My confidence, in who I am as a child of God, has grown. As you said, Lisa, truth is gender neutral. It speaks to an willing heart. I am thrilled to see how God is using me to speak His truth, without partiality.

    Thanks for your insights.

    Donna

    • http://www.lisawhittle.com Lisa R Whittle

      Great word of personal testimony, Donna…of branching out into something that at first intimidated you. Do it, my friend!

  • Ron

    As a man and husband, I sure know about that first one–being brief. My wife has a way of going on and on, when all I want is for her to get to the bottom line. As a journalist I know the value of getting to the point. If she has to share an issue by email, she goes on and on, giving far too many words to the matter and thereby hurting the case she is trying to make. Oh, yes, I know: Women need to process matters, men want to problem solve. Lord, give me strength. No, give me the 5Ws of journalism found in any good lead, and let the details come later. What, the house is on fire, and you’re telling me about the smell or light?

    • http://www.lisawhittle.com Lisa R Whittle

      ha! Ron, you have successfully made me laugh by this comment. :) My husband would sympathize with you, I’m sure. I’m pretty to the point, but I’m still a woman and I like the verbal process, as well. Though working with men I have come to really appreciate the bottom line. Thanks for this…

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  • http://twitter.com/drrandywillis Randy Willis

    Thanks for the (brief) post, Lisa!

    I am a pastor, but my wife is also a pastor, so the role of women in ministry/leadership is an important one. We met in seminary in the early 1990s, married in 1994, and co-wrote our thesis on husband/wife co-pastoring in time for 1995-graduation. We wrote about Aquila & Priscilla (posted somewhere on our blog, http://www.williswired.com)

    Today, in our conference of the United Methodist Church, our bishop is a woman (first in this conference’s history); she’s been great. Also, the current-but-retiring District Superintendent for our district is a woman as well as the DS who will replace in this summer.

    This is such a non-issue for me/us that I sometimes fail to remember that it can be an issue for others (but it shouldn’t be), which is NOT to say my wife has always had it easy in the church.

    • http://www.lisawhittle.com Lisa R Whittle

      I hear you, Randy. I do think sometimes we forget about issues that don’t touch us directly, which is why putting on the shoes of another is so important. It’s what I’ve tried to do in this post. Thanks for your input, and continued blessings on your ministry.

  • http://twitter.com/Decide2day Haelie

    Great post. I so well relate to what you say here, since I have felt led into a more mixed ministry audience. I don’t write just for women or just for mothers. I have from the beginning had specific men in mind when I write, depending on the subject. I have not let the gender thing limit me, because I have not felt God leading me to be a “women-only” writer and minister. Your words encourage, guide, and reaffirm me in that. As to the brevity…I leaned that one quickly, too! ;)

  • http://twitter.com/joantankersley Joan Tankersley

    Excellent and spot on advise. I also think it is important that men know you appreciate them as a gender and not assume the worst about their response to yours. There is so much negativity that goes on in the marketplace from both perspectives regarding gender bashing. Choosing to engage from a respectful neutrality is always well received, regardless of whether you “wear a skirt” or not.

    One last point: You can also influence men by being their mom.
    If you are the mom of a little boy, remember that your voice will have a lasting influence on his perception of women. Teach them from your heart to respect women, by being a woman worthy of respect.

  • http://www.walkwiththewise.wordpress.com Gail

    Again, this is a personality thing, not a gender thing. I have girl friends who are terrible at details and guy friends who have great attention to details. And what kind of details we pay attention too also differ person to person based on personality not gender.

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  • http://karlakakins.com Karla Akins

    It’s an awesome time to be a woman! This was a great post.

  • http://twitter.com/dbonleadership Dan

    I have not focused to much time thinking about your question. But I plan on sharing this post with my wife and seeing how she likes it. Something worth thinking about.

  • http://www.convenientcalendar.com 2013 Calendar

    That is key when you are over someone in business you do not have to explain yourself when it comes to decisions you make, it shows insecurity in your decisions and most people will have a hard time following those decisions!

  • Pingback: Strategies for Women Leading Men, by Lisa Whittle | Two Handed Warriors

  • Caroline

    I’m struggling with this as I try to influence my father and my husband. In the professional arena, men may listen – but at HOME, how do we influence the men around us? Particularly if we feel they need to take action to step-up and protect their family, or make a difficult decision. My dad seems to discount my opinion as “parroting my mother,” and he moves on about his day without a second thought. Influence at home seems to be more difficult than influence in the workplace.