Getting Heard

Beth Shuster eoshuster at UCDAVIS.EDU
Mon Jan 29 18:08:37 EST 1996

On 27 Jan 1996 03:51:19 GMT, Naomi Marcus <76643.1664 at> wrote:

.... snip....
>I think that men don't really hear what women say.
>The words and ideas just lodge someplace in there consciousness
>and they honestly think that they are coming up the idea that was
>originally suggested by the woman.

  I've been enjoying this thread, but just thought that I'd point out that
this phenomenon is not restricted to men failing to hear women.  In the
course of my husband's career, he has mentioned several instances in which
colleagues presented as "new" an idea which he had discussed with them
earlier.  This has been particularly irksome when the idea is reprised
during a strategy planning session with top management from the parent
company.  Now, Jeff is not exactly a shrinking violet (as those of you who
may know him realize), so these were not cases of "strong" personalities
dominating a "weaker" one.  In most cases, it did not appear that the
"offender" was deliberately trying to steal the idea either - it was just a
case of honest forgetfullness.

  His strategies for dealing with these things have been very similar to
those mentioned in this thread:
 a) To mention really good ideas to more than one person and to document
them in his notebook (this provides allies who will often say, yes, Jeff
mentioned that idea to me as well).
 b) Where appropriate, to chime in and elaborate - something along the
lines of "yes, when I mentioned the idea to you earlier, we also discussed
..."  The danger of the latter strategy is that, if done to frequently, it
can give the impression of an insecure "me-too" person.
 c) He's also discussed the problem with the "offending" parties and has
been able to effect some improvement (often they've been completely
oblivious to the problem).

  Although the "forgetful" routine (whether unintentional or deliberate)
may be more pervasive in female/male interactions, it is not unique to


Beth Shuster
Univ. of California, Davis
eoshuster at

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