Pitch, tone, volume, facial expression and touch have a profound effect on the meanings of our words. They can work together to create completely new meanings. They change the context of the words and give them new connotations. Both men and women, as human beings, have mastered using these non-verbal tools in communication.
Pitch has a lot to do with the meaning of what we say. Have you ever noticed that that a man speaks deeper when he tries to be serious? Have ever noticed that women's voices jump up an octave when they answer a friend's phone call? Those are examples of how we change our pitch to communicate something. Men might also use a deeper voice to be poignant, scary or sexy. Woman seem to often use a higher voice to show their excitement or femininity.
Even more than pitch, tone can drastically alter the meaning of what we say. "Don't you use that tone of voice with me young lady!" is a phrase you may have often heard your mother or father say. The tone of voice can make the same words "he's a genius" mean different things. A sarcastic tone can imply the opposite; he is an moron. The tone of our voice can make us sound like we are being rude, disrespectful, accusatory or argumentative even though sometimes we do not mean to be. "That's not what I meant." or "It just came out that way." are common defenses when we believe our tone of voice, and therefore, the meaning of our words have been misunderstood.
Like tone, volume can also add a dynamic to the meaning of our speech. The same words if they are whispered might not have the same meaning if they are yelled, although they could so long as the same tone is employed. Whispering fire is not the same as yelling "FIRE!" not just because of the volume but because of the tone of urgency. More than effecting the meaning of the words by the volume we use, we often choose the volume to use based on the social situation. Volume can be used to conceal information from many as in the case of a whisper, or to project a message to many in the case of a shout.
Even more dynamic than our volume can be our facial expressions. Watch a stand-up comedian. Listen to the same routine on a cd. It's still funny, but you really miss out on a lot without the facial expressions. Facial expressions are a dramatic tool to effect meaning on the words; together with tone, pitch and volume, facial expression projects emotion. Simply saying "That's disgusting" is meaningful, but making a face portraying yourself in a state of inevitable vomiting multiplies the meaning.
Like the physical act of facial expressions, touch can add one more layer to the power of nonverbal cues. Saying "I love you" can take on different meanings if it is followed by a hug or by a kiss or by grabbing some booty. Touch brings the parties communicating together in the case of hugging but it can also push them apart if one "make[s] it a word and a blow" (Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet). Picture yourself in a crowded bar. You say "excuse me" as you try to navigate your way through but your shoulder makes a bit too much contact with someone, your "excuse me," however well intended, may take on a meaning of rudeness and lead to an unpleasant evening.
Men and women can employ all of these techniques, albeit in their own ways. Any major difference between the use of these non-verbal techniques most likely stems from cultural differences rather than differences between the sexes. As human beings we have all mastered the art of using pitch, tone, volume, facial expression and touch to communicate. We are masters of these nonverbal cues because for us, it is simply natural.