Most men do not like drama. They are actually afraid of a woman's emotions, which is most clearly illustrated by their reaction when she starts to cry.
Men are also attuned to a sense of danger, which activates their fight or flight response. When a woman acts aggressively towards a man, for example, denigrating or yelling at him, his defenses kick in. He will either flee the situation (if not physically, then mentally by checking out so he hears nothing of what is said) or he will fight back in return. Neither is a wanted result nor will they lead to healthy communication that can resolve an issue.
Although society tends to look at women as the sensitive ones, in truth, men are much more sensitive and their feelings are easily hurt. This may not be recognized because if a man feels disrespected or useless (he can't fix the problem), he may act aggressively (or non-sensitively). This acting out is a defense mechanism of which the man may not even be aware. He only knows that when a situation is threatening and doesn't feel good, he needs to extricate himself from it and in any manner available.
To have effective communication with a man, a woman should also be aware of her tone of voice and her body language so that it is non-threatening and non-confrontational. Staring a man directly in the eye (unless it is in the bedroom!) can be regarded as a challenge. If you have something difficult to say, it is better to look away when saying it. When your thought is complete, then turn back to look at the man. Try to keep your demeanor pleasant and your face neutral; try not to purse your lips or scrunch up the skin between your eyebrows. These actions can also be regarded as confrontational and the man will respond to your pose rather than your words.
A woman should also give a man a way to succeed when presented with an issue. I am always reminded of asking a child, "Do you want to go to bed now or 5 minutes from now?" You have presented the child with two winning strategies (for you), yet the child still gets to retain his/her self-respect by not backing down. Remember, ultimatums never work and men like to win!
Now it may seem that all this is game playing, but I beg to differ. In every situation, one should always be aware of his/her surroundings and with whom he/she is dealing. The goal is to communicate effectively. It does no good to be able to say whatever you want and for it not to be heard. If you simply keep the gender differences in mind and adjust your delivery accordingly, you will be able to reach a successful resolution where both the man and woman feel like winners.
The information and ideas presented in this post are from a lecture by Cinthia Hiett, M.C., L.P.C., a highly recognized relationship and life management expert.