A typical male, my husband loves gadgets, especially the high tech stuff. Sure enough, days before a planned road trip he was busy installing a brand new Global Positioning System onto our van's dashboard.

To be honest, the sophisticated technology that enables satellites high up in the sky to track our van's location holds little interest to me. But being a typical female who is fascinated by the inner workings of the male brain, what did pique my interest was how this machine would get my husband to listen to it. Knowing how much he hated to follow instructions, and what an affront to his male ego it is to ask for directions, I looked forward with anticipation to this trip.

Days later, comfortably seated in the passenger seat of our overloaded van, I watched as my husband programmed our destination.

A soft, lilting, feminine voice sounded. "Turn right here," she instructed, followed by, "make an immediate left" and "keep to the right in 100 feet." On and on her commands issued forth. With growing amazement, I observed my husband dutifully and docilely following her every instruction.

My irritation at the soft inflection of her tone was surpassed by my wonder at how she accomplished this feat. There's got to be some logic to it, I surmised, determined to get to the bottom of this mystery.

Hoping to master her technique of convincing males the world-over to follow her instructions, I began observing her methodology more closely.

Here is what I think might be the secret to her success:

  1. She is not condescending. She does not criticize but simply and unemotionally instructs.
  2. She always remains calm. Her voice never rises in anger or irritation.
  3. She does not spew forth blame or condemnation for any lapses in judgment or errors.
  4. And lastly, when my husband purposely didn't comply with her instructions, she simply (and calmly!) rerouted him to another direction. She helped him to arrive at the same destination, while still allowing him to select a different route and his own unique approach.

Hmmm. I might just try one or two of the above. I'll let you know if it works.