Male vs Female Audiences

I prefer to speak to an all-male than an all-female American group. (In Ukraine it would be the opposite).

Men feel freer. They ask more questions, they participate in banter and rousting before and after the event, and they are not afraid of making a bad impression. They don’t respond to what I say on an emotional level, and it always exhausts me when strangers start to emote around me. They are also a lot more respectful to a female speaker. They refuse to call me by my first name. The meeting is less organized and less structured.

It’s hilarious how different this would be in a Ukrainian audience. Which is obviously why I connect better with male audiences and students in the US.

I gave an identical talk to an all-female and an all-male group, and enjoyed the latter about 50 times more.

4 thoughts on “Male vs Female Audiences

  1. What kind of male and female audiences are we talking about? Male and female academics in the US do not necessarily line up with their non-academic counterparts.

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  2. Most of the times after I became a physician and was occasionally forced by occupational and other circumstances to stand up in front of a crowd and at least pretend that I had something important to say, I spoke to an eclectic, mixed audience (that was in those days at least limited to two genders). The only times I spoke to an exclusively male or female audience were when I was an USAF Flight Surgeon (addressing then all-male military aircrew members), or was a civilian doctor talking to a hospital’s nursing staff (forty years ago reliably all women).

    The men (USAF pilots and other flight crew) asked me a lot more questions. They weren’t intimidated by my highest-in-the-room military rank, because I was a “doctor” and outside of their line officer’s chain of command. They also paid attention when I told them that in certain aircraft emergency situations “what they didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them — It would KILL them!”

    The all female nursing audiences asked far fewer questions, probably because what I told them would prolong the lives of their hospital patients, and not their own. But it was very easy to get all the nurses in the group to smile — just tell them (and mean it) that they were the power behind the throne in their hospital, spending their entire shifts taking care of the patients while the doctors only ​showed up a few minutes a day and got all the credit.

    I don’t miss those periodic talks — a doctor’s primary job is to heal and not lecture. But I do remember them fondly.

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  3. The reason one can’t behave or speak uniformly toward or with any or all cross-sections of society is due to every minute difference between people—be it gender, race, cultural background, religion, politics, personal taste, personal viewpoints, and so forth—being some kind of “shadow government” in its own right….complete with its own belief systems, assumptions and stereotypes of the other “shadow government” demographics, its own language and mantras and rhetoric, its own “identity politics”, its own “loyalty clauses” and such.
    “Social compartmentalizing” influences folks of different ilks to behave and think accordingly.

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