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As a Woman, How Are You At Listening?

Nov 09, 2020

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Nancy Fredericks

Nancy Fredericks pens Women Lead Change's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at www.CareerStretchZone.com. The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of Women Lead Change.

When you consider yourself in context to listening, do you think: I’m pretty doggone good? What’s the big deal about this topic?

Well, before you get too satisfied with your comfort level… How about taking a gander at this research? 

A Wright State University study of over 8,000 people found that virtually all respondents believe they listen as effectively as or more effectively than their coworkers.[1] Say what!? We know that isn’t true except perhaps in an executive’s wild imagination.

If so many can be wrong, you may be too.

Listening is vital to your career, especially with AResearch revealing, 50 percent of a professional’s workday is listening!

Effective listening isn't optional… It's essential. As a professional woman, there are aspects of the process to appreciate, or perhaps, you're ready to improve, or you’re interested in augmenting skills to continue being stellar?

Delve into the research. You may recognize additional information regarding your feminine listening skills unknown to you until now. You could gain insight into something that will up the ante to your abilities. Keep in mind, as you read, not all men and women are wired the same. All of us are unique, though, in truth, we do have certain gender-specific tendencies.

The Brain Tells A Story: The University of California, Irvine, and the University of New Mexico study reveals that men have six times more gray matter, while women have 10 times higher levels of white matter. What does this mean? Heavy reliance on the brain's gray matter may support localized tasks [and single-minded attention]. In contrast, increased white matter in women excels in integrating and assimilating. A skill thought to aid language competency. Though, differences in the way we listen do not seem to impact listening performance.[2]

Mind Scanning: MRI research confirms that women tap into both sides of the brain, unlike men who seemingly utilize the lift side of the brain. Women are more people-oriented, understanding the emotional, undertone elements of messages more effectively than men, In contrast, men are action-oriented listeners tending to focus on information pertinent to the tasks at hand.[3]   

Carol Kinsey Goman, a gender communication authority, and author discloses distinctions between men and women in the chart below that confirms the research we’ve reviewed.

 

Communication Strengths/Women

 

Communication Strengths/Men

 

 

Ability to read body language and pick up nonverbal cues.

 

 

Commanding physical presence.

 

 

Good listening skills

 

Direct and to-the-point interactions

 

 

Effective display of empathy.

 

Effective display of power.

 

 

Communication Weakness/Women

 

Communication Weakness/Men

 

 

Overly emotional.

 

Overly blunt and direct.

 

 

Meandering—won’t get to the point.

 

Insensitive to audience reactions.

 

 

Not authoritative.

 

Too confident in own opinion.[4]

 

 Did this chart get your pondering juices flowing? 

 Time to wrap this listening discussion in a bow by seeing if you can label yourself!

 Do you know what your listening partiality is? Dr. Kittie Watson, President of Innolect, Inc., and author, has uncovered four listening styles:

  • The people-oriented focuses externally on other people.
  • The action-oriented prefers an organized approach centering on facts and results.
  • The time-oriented favors short and to-the-point statements that do not interfere with other scheduled activities.
  • The content-oriented concentrate on facts, evidence, and support, and less on who is speaking.[5]

I know I’ve brought a bunch of ideas to you. Did anything you’ve read resonate as something you should add to your listening receptivity databank? Name it. And then, commit to: Listen as effectively as or more effectively than your peers… for real!

Men and women’s distinctly diverse brain listening receptors often lead to negative interpretations of the other gender's actions. Don’t fall prey to this harmful bias. It is not the winning formula for your successful career. 




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Category: Mindful Monday