Listening: A No-Brainer

Charles Grodin Comments On A Study About Listening

A recent study you may have heard about showed that men listen with half of their brain and women listen with both sides. People immediately thought that meant women are better listeners.

Not so fast!

The professor who did the study said it could mean that women find the whole listening thing harder. Just to further complicate it, he also said women can handle listening to two conversations at once.

Talk Back
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I knew a woman who acknowledged she would consciously allocate a certain percentage of her brain to listening on the phone while the rest of her brain was off thinking about something else. She also said, "I'm sorry, what," a lot.

I think you have to say the listening thing has a heck of a lot to do with circumstances. If you're a guy working in a field, alone from dawn to dusk, you come home ready to listen to someone talk.

If you're a woman working in a complaint department of a department store, and you come home and there are some complaints, which there always are, you'll go from listening on both sides to listening on no sides of the brain.

My experience tells me that men generally listen better to other men, and women to other women, with the exception of first dates where everyone pays a kind of attention you seldom ever see again.

Of course, the best way to get anybody to listen is to make the conversation about them, and tell them it is, too. Just say, "Listen to this story. You're in it."