Are there really big differences between male and female listening patterns?
Every evaluation I have examined indicates that women are generally superior communicators. For example, women make better eye contact, and making good eye contact helps the receiver pick up on nuances. People don’t always say what they mean in words, as you suggest with the question on body language and inflection. Women are more likely to give noncompetitive feedback, which also helps clarify. As a communicator, how do you avoid these pitfalls? It simply can’t be done impeccably. Cultivating a discipline for clarification is very important. Undertaking some study of how communication patterns go wrong can be helpful. But you can also help by encouraging healthy communication, which might take the form of an employee feeling comfortable about telling you when things aren’t going right. Without that feedback, you are at a disadvantage. For that to happen, though, your employee must learn to trust you-and that won’t be likely to happen unless you trust your employee and demonstrate your