Quotes on Listening

"Let the wise listen and add to their learning." - Bible, Proverbs 1:5

"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." - Winston Churchill

"Never lose sight of the need to reach out and talk to other people who don't share your view. Listen to them and see if you can find a way to compromise." - Colin Powell

"Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak." - Bible, James 1:19

"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend." - Thomas Jefferson

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Martin Luther King Jr.

“I think in our desire to create a better America, we have to have civilized debate in this country and not just yelling.” - Craig Ferguson

"America can’t move forward in any type of useful manner unless we listen to each other - really listen." -Carolyn Lukensmeyer, National Institute for Civil Discourse

"We weaken our ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so coarse with rancor that Americans with whom we disagree are seen not just as misguided but as malevolent." But “when you talk to individuals one-on-one, people, there's a lot more that people have in common than divides them.” Yet “we now have a situation in which everybody's listening to people who already agree with them and are further and further reinforcing their own realities to the neglect of a common reality that allows us to have a healthy debate and then try to find common ground and actually move solutions forward." - President Barack Obama

"To answer before listening-- that is folly and shame." - Bible, Proverbs 18:13

"To listen is to lean in softly with a willingness to be changed by what we hear." - Mark Nepo

"Encouraging civil discussion of alternative views genuinely benefits society as a whole." - John Stuart Mill

"When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen." - Ernest Hemingway

"The ability to listen is as important as the ability to speak." - Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO

"Arguments premised on the notion that those who disagree have a hidden agenda are a decision not to listen." - Paul Mahoney, Dean of Virginia School of Law, in his Listen First Essay

"I grew up in a conversational culture when people actually talked and listened to each other… One of the things that’s wrong with America today, that bothers me more than anything else about our future, is that we have separated ourselves into like-minded communities… we don’t want to be around very many people who disagree with us, and we get news in silos. And the truth is, in an interdependent, complex world, diverse groups make better decisions than homogeneous ones… This is killing us, all this fighting over nothing… The most important thing is to be humble, to listen, to realize everybody’s got a story." - President Bill Clinton

"The most important quality is humility. I think it’s really important to know what you don’t know and listen to people who do know what you don’t know." - President George W. Bush

"Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens." - Jimi Hendrix

"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." - Bible, Proverbs 15:1

"Civility must truly be restored. It is not to be confused with niceness and mere etiquette or dismissed as squeamishness about differences. It is a tough, robust, substantive concept… and a manner of conduct that will be decisive for the future of the American republic” - Os Guinness

"Listening moves us closer, it helps us become more whole, more healthy, more holy. Not listening creates fragmentation, and fragmentation is the root of all suffering." - Margaret J. Wheatley

"Do not say you agree or disagree until you can say 'I understand.'" - Mortimer J. Adler

"A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with." - Kenneth A. Wells

"One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say." - Bryant H. McGill

"Consider carefully how you listen." - Bible, Luke 8:18

"If you have the strength to speak, you should have the courage to listen." - Nishan Panwar

"Ironically, one of the best ways to win people's confidence is simply to let them talk first. If you want to establish trust, let the other person speak first or have the floor first." - Inc

"The failure to listen well not only prolongs meetings and discussions but also can hurt relationships and damage careers." - Wall Street Journal

"Any problem, big or small, within a family, always seems to start with bad communication. Someone isn't listening." - Emma Thompson

"Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk." - Doug Larson

"Listening is a positive act: you have to put yourself out to do it." - David Hockney

"Leadership to me means duty, honor, country. It means character, and it means listening from time to time." - President George W Bush

"A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion." - Bible, Proverbs 18:2

"Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand." - Karl A. Menninger

"The first duty of love is to listen." - Paul Tillich

"Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don't believe is right." - Jane Goodall

"Listening is such a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don't have to do anything else. We don't have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. We just have to be willing to sit there and listen." - Margaret J. Wheatley

"I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I'm going to learn, I must do it by listening." - Larry King

"Learning is a result of listening, which in turn leads to even better listening and attentiveness to the other person." - Alice Miller

"Listening is being able to be changed by the other person." - Alan Alda

"Most of the successful people I've known are the ones who do more listening than talking." - Bernard Baruch

"The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out." Bible, Proverbs 18:15

"It's only through listening that you learn, and I never want to stop learning." - Drew Barrymore

"Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery." - Joyce Brothers

"There are many benefits to this process of listening. The first is that good listeners are created as people feel listened to. Listening is a reciprocal process - we become more attentive to others if they have attended to us." - Margaret J. Wheatley

"The art of effective listening is essential to clear communication, and clear communication is necessary to management success." - James Cash Penney

"Listen to many, speak to a few." - William Shakespeare

"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence." - Robert Frost

"When you really listen to another person from their point of view, and reflect back to them that understanding, it's like giving them emotional oxygen." - Stephen Covey

"Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end." Bible, Proverbs 29:11

"We have two ears and one mouth so we should listen more than we speak." - Diogenes

"Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly." - Plutarch

"There is only one rule for being a good talker - learn to listen." - Christopher Morley

"Throughout my life I have always been amazed that people couldn't listen to other people, that they couldn't hear their best intent, that there seemed to be an enormous need to demonize." - Warren Farrell

"You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time." - M. Scott Peck

"Keeping your mind open to what other people think, even if you disagree, is an element of leadership - not just talking but listening." - President George H W Bush

"You get nothing done if you don't listen to each other." - First Lady Barbara Bush

"It has been my experience that if we make the effort to listen to people when we meet them, and work to get to know them a little, it is then easy to find something likable in practically anyone." - Bryant H. McGill

"It takes a great man to be a good listener." - Calvin Coolidge

"The humble listen to their brothers and sisters because they assume they have something to learn. They are open to correction, and they become wiser through it." - Thomas Dubay

"The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn't being said." - Peter F. Drucker

"Man's inability to communicate is a result of his failure to listen effectively." - Carl Rogers

"Business people need to listen at least as much as they need to talk. Too many people fail to realize that real communication goes in both directions." - Lee Iacocca

"Seek first to understand, then to be understood." - Stephen R. Covey

"Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them." Bible, Proverbs 29:20

"Just being available and attentive is a great way to use listening as a management tool." - Nicholas V. Luppa

"Of all the skills of leadership, listening is the most valuable—and one of the least understood. Most captains of industry listen only sometimes, and they remain ordinary leaders. But a few, the great ones, never stop listening." - Peter Nulty

"A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something." - Wilson Mizner

"You learn when you listen. You earn when you listen—not just money, but respect." - Harvey Mackay

"To learn through listening, practice it naively and actively. Naively means that you listen openly, ready to learn something, as opposed to listening defensively, ready to rebut. Listening actively means you acknowledge what you heard and act accordingly." - Betsy Sanders

"To listen closely and reply well is the highest perfection we are able to attain in the art of conversation." - Francois de La Rochefoucauld

"Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble." - Frank Tyger

"It is the province of knowledge to speak and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

"As I get older, I've learned to listen to people rather than accuse them of things." - Po Bronson

"My parents taught me how to listen to everybody before I made up my own mind. When you listen, you learn. You absorb like a sponge-and your life becomes so much better than when you are just trying to be listened to all the time." - Steven Spielberg

"To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversation." - Chinese Proverb

"Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs." - Bible, Proverbs 10:12

"You never get people's fuller attention than when you're listening to them." - Robert Brault

"Silent" and "listen" are spelled with the same letters." - Unknown

"The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention." - Thich Nhat Hanh

"If you want to be heard, listen." - Melchor Lim

"Sometimes your eyes don't open until your mouth closes." - Keion Henderson

"Being listened to is so close to being loved that most people cannot tell the difference." - David Augsberg

“It is greed to do all the talking but not to want to listen at all.” - Democritus

“To be kind is more important than to be right. Many times, what people need is not a brilliant mind that speaks but a special heart that listens.” - F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Let people speak. Let people disagree. Communicate. Listen.” -  Bryant McGill

"An essential part of true listening is the discipline of bracketing, the temporary giving up or setting aside of one's own prejudices, frames of reference and desires so as to experience as far as possible the speaker's world from the inside, step in inside his or her shoes. This unification of speaker and listener is actually and extension and enlargement of ourselves, and new knowledge is always gained from this. Moreover, since true listening involves bracketing, a setting aside of the self, it also temporarily involves a total acceptance of the other. Sensing this acceptance, the speaker will fell less and less vulnerable and more and more inclined to open up the inner recesses of his or her mind to the listener. As this happens, speaker and listener begin to appreciate each other more and more, and the duet dance of love is begun again." - M. Scott Peck, MD

"In our public discourse, it's become increasingly common to vilify those with whom you disagree... We all have a lot to gain by talking to each other, even if at the end of our talking we still disagree... Janna helped me slow down and really listen what people were saying to me. People want you to hear what they think. Listen to them, really consider what they are saying to you, especially if they disagree with you. The more I listened, the more I learned from and about the people I represent... How do you care? Same as in the rest of life: by being there, showing up and listening, instead of just talking... The only way to generate respect and a better understanding of motives and ideas is to keep visiting and talking and opening the lines of communication... If we can move beyond the name calling and recriminations, we can find common ground and work together. Just by listening, we can learn a lot." - Speaker of the House Paul Ryan

"I believe we have to end the divisive partisan politics that is ripping this country apart. And I think we can. It’s meanspirited. It’s petty. And it’s gone on for much too long. I don’t believe, like some do, that it’s naïve to talk to Republicans. I don’t think we should look at Republicans as our enemies. They are our opposition; they’re not our enemies. And for the sake of the country, we have to work together... Compromise is not a dirty word. Look at it this way, folks — how does this country function without consensus? How can we move forward without being able to arrive at consensus? Four more years of this kind of pitched battle may be more than this country can take. We have to change it. We have to change it." - Vice President Joe Biden

"Both sides, so to speak have some important and valid points. But neither seem that concerned with listening to the other. Rarely do you hear something from either side that is measured, gracious, and really seeking to understand. And the tone people adopt on Facebook with these issues is deplorable… When you are in conflict of some kind – say a political discussion with somebody different than you – are you more interested in understanding things from their perspective, or making sure they see the truth of your own? The humble person is quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. He recognizes there is usually more about issues that he doesn’t know than what he does know. This is hard for me: I have opinions on everything... But there are people who have had different experiences than me, and they come from different backgrounds, and if I am humble I’ll spend twice as much time listening to them and understanding their perspective as I do trying to get them to understand mine." - Pastor J.D. Greear

"If our democracy is to work in this increasingly diverse nation, then each one of us need to try to heed the advice of a great character in American fiction — Atticus Finch — who said “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”… We have to pay attention, and listen… And that's not easy to do. For too many of us, it's become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or on college campuses, or places of worship, or especially our social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions. The rise of naked partisanship, and increasing economic and regional stratification, the splintering of our media into a channel for every taste — all this makes this great sorting seem natural, even inevitable. And increasingly, we become so secure in our bubbles that we start accepting only information, whether it's true or not, that fits our opinions, instead of basing our opinions on the evidence that is out there… But politics is a battle of ideas. That's how our democracy was designed. In the course of a healthy debate, we prioritize different goals, and the different means of reaching them. But without some common baseline of facts, without a willingness to admit new information, and concede that your opponent might be making a fair point, and that science and reason matter then we're going to keep talking past each other, and we'll make common ground and compromise impossible… We weaken [our] ties when we allow our political dialogue to become so coarse with rancor that Americans with whom we disagree are seen not just as misguided but as malevolent." - President Barack Obama in his Farewell Address