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  1. Ego
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Poor listening is expensive. Watch what some folks have to say.

Tooting Our Horn

~ Marian was invited by the Global Gaming Women (GGW) organization to present a session on listening at the Global Gaming Expo in Las Vegas September 25. GGW is an organization that was established by the American Gaming Association and supports the development and success of women in the international gaming industry through education, mentorship and networking opportunities. Marian's talk will be, "Effective Communication: Become a Better Listener."

~ We are pleased to announce Marian’s upcoming participation in a Listening Symposium Sept. 15-17, 2013 at the Reynolds Journalism Institute in Columbia, Missouri (based at the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri). The symposium is a gathering of a small, select group of leaders from many professions, including lawyers, police, clergy, therapists, social workers, educators, nurses, sociologists and more, to work together for two days to explore the purposes, practices and power of listening in society, and to learn from each other.

The hope is to tease out the best practices used in each participants’ worlds. How does the cop discern between truth and lie? How does the journalist probe but not judge? How does the therapist work through pain without undermining trust? We will be challenged to practice what we preach: to really listen to one another, even - or especially - when we disagree.

The sessions will be guided in part by Butch Ward, former managing editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer and now on the faculty at the Poynter Institute, a school for professional journalists.

~ Marian is a contributor to a new eBook just released by Bill Corbett, author, keynote speaker and parenting expert, entitled, “Speakers’ Worst Nightmares.” It is a compilation of 41 stories from individuals with varying degrees of speaking experience. All of the stories, many of them quite humorous, were important lessons for the individuals as they developed their speaking skills. Bill just released his new book, “From the Soapbox to the Stage: How to use Your Passion to Start a Speaking Business.”

~ Take a look at this interesting article published online March 27, 2013 at The Glass Hammer under the title: “What to Do If Your Flex Work Arrangement Gets Axed” by Robin Madell (http://www.theglasshammer.com/news/2013/03/27/what-to-do-if-your-flex-work-program-gets-axed/ ). It features Marian's comments with some timely, supportive advice with steps to take should you be faced with a similar circumstance.

~ We here at Listening Impact recently learned that Marian has one of the top 10% most viewed @LinkedIn profiles for 2012. (Copy and paste this link to view our LinkedIn profile ~ http://www.linkedin.com/pub/profile/0/167/506)

Yes, we are proud of this accomplishment. Primarily, though, we are inspired by your commitment to professional growth and honored by your friendship and confidence in our coaching, communication and listening skills.

Posts Tagged ‘gender differences’

Start Out 2012 with New Research

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 @ 03:01 PM Author: Marian Thier

Hearing Bilingual: How Babies Sort Out Language

By Perri Klass, M.D.

Published: October 10, 2011

Over the past decade, Ellen Bialystok, a distinguished research professor of psychology at York University in Toronto, has shown that bilingual children develop crucial skills in addition to their double vocabularies, learning different ways to solve logic problems or to handle multitasking, skills that are often considered part of the brain’s so-called executive function.

These higher-level cognitive abilities are localized to the frontal and prefrontal cortex in the brain. “Overwhelmingly, children who are bilingual from early on have precocious development of executive function,” Dr. Bialystok said.

Dr. Kuhl calls bilingual babies “more cognitively flexible” than monolingual infants. Her research group is examining infant brains with an even newer imaging device, magnetoencephalography, or MEG, which combines an M.R.I. scan with a recording of magnetic field changes as the brain transmits information.

Differences in Listening Between a Man and a Woman

By Ashley Black, eHow Contributor updated May 23, 2011

Gender differences exist, and scientists are still discovering more differences. Besides being physically different in size, shape and strength, men and women often react differently to medications. Women also have better night vision and have better visual memory while men have better distance vision and depth perception. Are gender differences present in the act of listening as well?

  1. Listening Style ~ According to Larry Barker and Kittie Watson, authors of the book “Listen Up,” men and women typically employ different listening styles. Men are more likely to be action-oriented listeners, which means they focus on listening to information pertinent to the task at hand. Action-oriented listeners have little patience for speakers who ramble off topic or include unnecessary details. Women are more likely to be people-oriented listeners. They connect with the emotional message and undertones of a conversation and are more concerned with the occurrence of the conversation than with the pertinent information discussed.
  2. Response Style ~ Men and women in listening roles during conversations tend to express their responsiveness in different ways. Women often interject with small acknowledging remarks such as “yes,” “I see,” and “mm-hmm” to show the speaker that they are actively listening and processing the contents of the conversation. Men tend to listen silently, interjecting sparsely and usually only to ask clarification. The difference in response style can cause women to assume that men aren’t actively listening to them in conversations, while men tend to think that women over-listen.
  3. Brain Activity ~ The difference in listening habits of men and women is more than just perceptual. A study by Dr. Micheal Phillips, a neuroaudiologist at the Indiana University School of Medicine, found gender differences in the brain activity of men and women. Brain imaging scans showed that the left brain hemisphere of men in the study was activated while listening, while both hemispheres were activated in women. This data suggests that there is a physical difference in listening between men and women.
  4. Listening Ability ~ Despite all the research targeted at dissecting gender differences in listening, there is little to no evidence to suggest that members of one gender are better listeners than members of the other. Men and women listen equally well. Listening ability appears to be more due to individual differences and circumstances than due to gender differences.

What’s your experience that does/does not validate this research?

Do Women Talk More than Men? Recent Research

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 @ 10:12 AM Author: Marian Thier

The findings from Queendom.com, a testing company, indicate:

  • women and older age groups tend to be better listeners
  • a fair amount of people continue to practice listening “faux pas” like interrupting, finishing other people’s sentences, and otherwise not giving someone their undivided attention
  • women can tell when someone isn’t listening. They recognize that distant, glassy look, the misplaced “Uh huhs,” and fidgeting

“Most people will probably state that they’re pretty good listeners, but that’s because a lot of us think that listening is a passive process – that it just requires us to hear what others are saying,” explains Dr. Ilona Jerabek, president of the company. “Listening is active. We need to be mentally present, which means avoiding distractions, refrain from prematurely judging what the speaker is saying, or focusing on coming up with the perfect comment. We also need to be physically present – this means eye contact and open body language – and no fidgeting!”

Women seem to grasp this active listening concept slightly better than men do. Women are not only a little better at using body language to show that they are listening, they were also more likely to let a conversation flow rather than interrupt a speaker. Age comparisons reveal that older age groups are not only better listeners and good with body language, but also have longer attention span, are more likely to hear a person out, and less likely to get distracted.

Queendom’s data also reveals that while listening to others…

3% admitted that they don’t make eye contact.

12% will finish someone’s sentences.

16% will correct the speaker if they mispronounce a word.

17% have a tendency to interrupt.

19% will purposely divert or end conversations that don’t interest them.

20% admit that they perform other tasks at the same time (e.g. watch TV, cook).

23% fidget (play with hair, look at watch, tap feet, drum fingers).

27% make disapproving faces if they don’t agree with the speaker.

31% are thinking about how they will respond to the speaker.

40% admit that their mind wanders if they find the topic of conversation boring.

“Our study also showed that people with good listening skills had better grades in school and higher performance ratings at work. Listening takes effort, however, and a willingness to give our undivided focused to someone, which isn’t always easy.”

For further information about the study:

Ilona Jerabek, Ph.D., President
PsychTests AIM Inc.
[email protected]
tel: 514-745-3189



More Research Findings

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 @ 12:07 AM Author: Marian Thier

I continue to search the world for interesting research being conducted.  Of course, there is much more than I find; nevertheless I enjoy sharing with you some of the tidbits.  You can make of it what you will.  I’m forever looking for clues about how we communicate, especially as it pertains to listening.  You might extrapolate different learning for yourself.

Share any good stuff you come across.

Humor stimulates brain activity:

“Although our study looked at the brain’s response to jokes, our reasons for doing that were very serious. One of the main questions that families of severely brain injured patients ask us is can they still experience emotions? With the brain imaging technique we’ve developed here, we can answer that question in a simple and painless way.”

The study and resulting paper, published in the prestigious Journal of Neuroscience www.jneurosci.org/content/31/26/9665.full, finds that the “reward” area of the brain lights up to a much greater degree when a joke is told compared to that of simply listening to regular conversation.

Adrian Owen at The University of Western Ontario’s Centre for Brain and Mind

Six functions of nonverbal communication

Nonverbal communication is thought to comprise six functions in human communication. These functions consist of complementing verbal messages, substituting for verbal messages, accenting verbal messages, contradicting verbal messages, repeating verbal messages, and regulating verbal messages.

Leathers, D. (1997). (3rd. ed.) Successful Nonverbal Communication: Principles and Applications.

The influence of facial characteristics on communication

Researchers have found that facial characteristics may compel one to desire communication interaction with another. The introduction and management of interpersonal relationships often rely on nonverbal communication. Facial characteristics of a significant other are used as a template for evaluating new people. Anderson, Reznik and Manzella (1996) found the emotions and character attributed to a significant other can be transferred to a new acquaintance based on the similarity of facial characteristics. When a facial similarity to someone already liked is recognized, those good feelings are transferred to that new person. We are more likely then to approach and to desire acceptance by the new person. Facial features also elicit negative feelings if the significant other being compared evokes negative feelings. Many times these comparisons happen at an unconscious level and are manifested at the conscious level by the willingness to approach a new person. Concurring with other researchers, Palmer and Simmons (1995) suggest to conduct successful interpersonal relationships the ability to interpret nonverbal cues is needed, because social constraints often hinder explicit verbal messages.

It has been consistently found, however, that adult women are better than men at decoding nonverbal communication (Hall, 1984). Research indicates a woman`s superior ability in decoding for a variety of nonverbal cues regardless of the age or sex of the sender. What remain are the indeterminate causes for this gender discrepancy in decoding ability. One suggestion for a causal factor is cross-culturally, nurturance is fostered in girls and care giving is their expected gender role rather than boys.

Research has shown girls display more nurturance communication behavior than boys and this would account for a higher sensitivity to nonverbal cues (Bullis, & Horn, 1995). It has also been suggested that the greater interpersonal sensitivity may be due to disadvantaged status. The disadvantage creates a greater motive for women to accurately interpret nonverbal cues. If there were high motivation for the receiver to decode the message properly, then they would be more likely to attend to all communication cues, verbal and nonverbal. It would also indicate women should have higher skills in verbal decoding ability, but this has not been shown.

Laurel J. Dunn, Department of Psychology, Missouri Western State University


Intelligence about Assessment Instruments

Monday, January 31, 2011 @ 06:01 PM Author: Marian Thier

On January 26, 2011 I participated in an excellent webinar conducted by Ann Herrmann Nehdi on the topic of Assessment Instruments.  Ann is CEO of Herrmann International, the company that provides the Herrmann Brain Dominance Instrument (HBDI). She was joined by very knowledgeable guest panelists.

The panelists had so many superb points to make that I don’t feel it appropriate to repeat everything they presented. Thus, I’m going to select some highlights:

Overall for all panelists:

  • A variety of instruments are best used to provide a total picture because no one instrument can capture the complexity of human behavior.
  • An assessment instrument is personalized and can lead to self-discovery.
  • Assessment instruments are levers for personal growth

From the presentation of Tom Boldrey, Professor Emeritus from Eastern Illinois University:

Factors to determine instrument(s) selection:

  • Purpose of engagement—what does the client want to achieve?
  • Client request—what needs does the client articulate?
  • Scope and length of the engagement—where does the instrument fit in?
  • Participant readiness—is the client open to learn from the instrument?
  • Situational context—what’s going on in the person/organization that the instrument might highlight or explain?

He went on to relate Dr. Carl Jung’s Psychological Type Theory to the development of the MBTI, its inter-relationship to the HBDI, and to other assessments.  Some of Dr. Jung’s crucial considerations for all assessment instruments:

  • Preferences are innate; that is, we have inborn predispositions
  • Predispositions are influenced by experiences
  • Preferences are used in varying degrees
  • Life provides opportunities to develop

Of course, while I was rapt in attention by his presentation, I thought about the application to my own instrument, Hear! Hear? Your Listening Portfolioâ. It exemplifies all of Drs. Jung’s and Boldrey’s points. Hear! Hear? is descriptive, not prescriptive; does not label the taker; supports and complements other assessments; has high face validity (just ask anyone who’s taken it); and is immediately actionable.

If you’d like to now more about the HBDI or more about the webinar presentations, go to www.hbdi.com

“I Do Not Interrupt,” She Says

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 @ 08:06 AM Author: Marian Thier

There is gender representation among all four listening habits.

Females and males do display some different behaviors when interrupting.

It’s easiest for me to tell a story to illustrate the point than to try to explain it in scientific terms.

When I was conducting the beta test of Hear! Hear? Your Listening Portfolio®, two women, known to me but not to one another, told me they could not answer the first question on the assessment.  The question has to do with interrupting others.

I asked why and, independent of one another, they said, “Because I don’t interrupt.”  They are both North Americans, one a businessperson, one an educator, and both mature adults.  Thus, their responses were not what I would have expected, nor what I have experienced in my years working with people, many like them. Because I know them, I’m also aware that their socio-economic backgrounds override cultural influences. In other words, these women are used to being heard.

Certainly, as the developer of the instrument, I was not about to argue with their responses; yet, I was sure they were wrong in their self-perception.  I described interrupting as signaling you have something to say.  With that definition in mind, I requested that each woman ask colleagues if she does interrupt, and if so, how does she interrupt.

They both responded to me, fortunately in a good-natured manner, and were pretty surprised by what they learned about themselves as interrupters.  One woman said her colleagues told her she looks at her watch, wiggles in her seat, and takes deep breaths to signal that she has something to say.  All her colleagues called it interrupting.  The other woman also made it clear to others that it was her turn, but without uttering a word, although she did have the habit of clearing her throat when she wanted to talk.  “And, apparently, I clear my throat louder and louder the longer they take to shut up so I can talk!”

Males mostly interrupt with words and females with body language.

Following is an excerpt from a study done in 1994 by Carol W. Kennedy and Carl Camden, at the School of Nursing, Ohio State University and Department of Communication, Cleveland State University:

Women leaned away from the group significantly more often than did men and when leaning away, women were more likely to be interrupted. Women were also more likely to be interrupted when smiling than were men, and women smiled significantly more when taking the speaking turn. Finally, women were interrupted significantly more often than men when they did not look at the turn-taker.

Do you experience differences between genders in respect to interrupting?  If so, what do you notice?