howweconnectHow We Connect

Women talk Face to Face, Men Talk Side By Side.

This was one of the points that Play Bigger co-founder Al Ramadan and I were talking about on a recent podcast.

Generally speaking women like to discuss, share and dissect issues face to face. It’s how they feel connected and considered. Eye to Eye.

Men (note again, generally) prefer to have more personal conversations side by side. On the golf course, fishing, on the way somewhere, cycling, surfing, watching the football. It could be sitting at a favourite spot and ‘downloading the day’. Shoulder to shoulder.

In today’s overly ‘connected’ digital world are we understanding the basic elements required for people to actually feel engaged and supported?

Understand, that the fundamental differences are neither right or wrong, it’s just the way men and women generally like to operate.

It’s useful considering this when you are managing teams or trying to connect with your friends/spouse/trusted sources.

  • What is the most efficient way for you to discuss crucial topics that will allow the best engagement and authentic responses.


When we step out from behind screens and look up from digital devices we need to spend some quality time engaging with those we respect and consider the opinion of.


According to the Wall Street Journal  there are lots of examples of key male leaders who plan they trip away every year, based around adventure activities to build in some much needed conversations and reflection – but on the go. Al Ramadan has a group of friends he has travelled with over the past 20 years as a “group of knowledge”. They pick extraordinary places and head off to surf, snowboard, trek or have some kind of outdoor adventure and use this as a way to be creative, discuss any issues and keep connected.

When I run my Boardroom Retreats™  for groups or one-one, I build in time and activities based around my clients.

  • If it’s women then I know we are going to need more sit down and face to face time.
  • If it’s men then I always build in more walk and talk or active style activities, opportunities to discuss on the go and then come back and have shorter recap or debrief moments when we map things out on paper.

Female entrepreneurs and CEOs I know organise their get togethers based around time to wind down, relax, chat and be in a closer calmer environment – to pause. For example LBD Group founder Janine Garner just organised a recent spa and lunch day for a close group. We have been running collaboration retreats for 5 years where boutique dinner conversation and down time together were key features.


It’s not one size fits all

I like to do both to be honest. I like the side by side conversation heading out for a surf or biking riding and sharing a sense of activity and adventure. At the same time I enjoy one-one face to face chats and re-connects with people who’s values and opinions I share and respect.

What suits you?

Here’s 3 quick ways to reconsider how you connect with those you respect:

  1. Who’s in the ‘room’: Be considerate of how the dynamics change depending on who you are talking with and what level of information and connection you really want to engage in.
  2. Choose your conversation landscape: If there are vital issues you need real advice or conversation about then choose your location or your moments carefully depending on who you are confiding in.
  3. What suits you best: Know thy self. Remember being able to authentically share issues or roadblocks or just chat through ideas and strategy freely means you need to feel comfortable and engaged yourself. Are you a face to face connector or shoulder to shoulder?

As mentioned above – I personally like both ways of connecting. It even may be having a conversation while on a sail boat racing around Sydney – when people are relaxed and in their element the conversation flows and becomes more genuine.

One size does not fit all. This is not about diversity, feminism or trying to pigeon whole men and women. It’s about levelling up and understanding yourself and others around you in order to make meaningful connections with trust and confidence.

A dear friend and guru of all things passion and purpose, Keith Abraham, said – who are your 7 points of contact each day? Then, for those people who you truly value the opinion of, it’s definitely worth considering the extra time you can take to connect and share.

In today’s ‘disconnected yet over-connected’ digital world, it helps to get back to basics, put the phones down and book some personal time in with those you respect.


Yours in Vitality






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