Readers on better listening

Judging from your responses, it's the battle of the sexes out there in listening land—and you better take notes at meetings.

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Readers had strong opinions on our column about how to be a better listener. Here are some of the highlights we received from Facebook and through e-mails.

"I appreciate the better listening tips in your piece, but there was one that I completely disagree with," wrote Erin. "I need to write things down and read them to retain the information. Your expert said not to take notes in meetings. Maybe watching body language is the way to go for some people, but I am guessing I'm not the only one who likes to jot things down so I don't forget them."

"No taking notes?" wrote Karen. "Oh, that's totally wrong. I am a manager and if my team isn't taking notes when I'm talking, I think they're being lazy."

"I was wondering if your expert had any data on why men are such terrible listeners?" asked Kathy. "Women across the board are better at this. I think it has to be biological."

"I found it very interesting that five different people might witness a bank robbery and their stories won't sync up," wrote Brian. "I have always been amazed how my wife and I will both be somewhere and when we tell someone else about it later, our descriptions couldn't be more opposite. I always thought it was because she wasn't paying attention!"

"In my job, I interview a lot of people," said Steve. "I am always thinking of the next question when they are answering me, which means I miss a lot of what they are saying. I've always been torn by this. I want to seem prepared, but I also want to be present for the conversation."

"I need to print this out for my husband," said Diane.

"If I'm right, and the person talking is wrong, I don't need to absorb the feedback as your expert suggests," wrote Justin. "That's just wasting my time."

"I think we are creating a generation of multi-taskers," wrote Martha. "I can listen and text and e-mail all at the same time. If you CAN'T do all those things at once, I think you'll fall behind."

"Rebuttals are the best part of difficult conversations," wrote Matt. "How can I gracefully tell my co-worker they're totally off base if I'm not in my own mind compiling a witty response while they're talking?"

"Watching someone's body language can be too distracting sometimes," wrote Scott. "There is a woman I work with and she talks with her hands so much, all I'm thinking when she talks is, 'Stop flapping your hands all over the place!' "

"When I go to dinner with my dad he is always looking over my head when I'm telling a story," wrote Julie. "I HATE this. Once I started speaking in gibberish to see how long it would take for him to pay attention. He snapped out of it when the waiter started laughing."

jweigel@tribune.com
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