Perspectives on Listening


I have accumulated hundreds of quotations on the subject of listening, a skill that remains under-appreciated.

In essence, listening is hearing with intent: to learn, to understand, to appreciate, and (yes) to reassure the speaker that you care.

These are among my favorites:

“There is a significant difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.” Simon Sinek

“Most of the most successful people I’ve known are the ones who do far more listening than talking.” Bernard Baruch

“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

“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

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

“Listening is not just hearing what someone tells you word for word. You have to listen with a heart. I don’t want that to sound touchy-feely; it is not. It is very hard work.” Anna Deavere Smith

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