37 Quotes to Become a Better Listener

Listen Up!

Listen Up!

Listen up,” she said in a voice that was obviously coming from a strong mother, “You had your choice.”

I don’t know what the argument was about, but I noticed her kneeling down, talking to a boy who was about four or five years old. This kid may have been insistent, but my bet was on the mom. She was having none of it.

But, what she said next got my attention, “You are going to learn to listen. That’s a skill you will thank me for later.”

Wow. Not what I expected.

I walked away, thinking how lucky that little guy was to have a mom so intent on teaching him how to be a better listener. One day, he may owe his success to it.

It’s something I have been working on. We all need to listen more. It is one thing to listen, and another to be a listener.

 

Quotes to Help Us Listen Well

Here are some quotes on listening well that may inspire you to become a better listener:

 

“The word LISTEN contains the same letters as the word SILENT.” –Alfred Brendel

 

“When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” –Ernest Hemingway

 

“If speaking is silver, then listening is gold.” -Turkish Proverb

 

“Be careful how you are talking to yourself because you are listening.”  -Lisa M. Hayes

 

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

 

“Sometimes the most influential thing we can do is listen.” –Bob Burg

 

“The first duty of love is to listen.” –Paul Tillich

 

“There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.” –Rumi

 

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.” –Doug Larson

 

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.” –Harper Lee

 

“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” -Jimi Hendrix

 

“It takes a great man to be a good listener.” –Calvin Coolidge

 

“Listening is being able to be changed by the other person.” –Alan Alda

 

“Whoever answers before listening is both foolish and shameful.” -Proverbs 18:13

 

“One of the greatest skills any leader can master is becoming comfortable with silence.” -David Grossman

 

“The art of conversation lies in listening.” -Malcom Forbes

 

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

 

“Listen like every sentence matters; talk like every word counts.” –Geoffrey Tumlin

 

“One friend, one person who is truly understanding, who takes the trouble to listen to us as we consider a problem, can change our whole outlook on the world.” -E. H. Mayo

 

“God speaks to us every day only we don’t know how to listen.” -Mahatma Gandhi

 

“Big egos have little ears.” -Robert Schuller

 

“A leader must be a good listener. He must be willing to take counsel. He must show a genuine concern and love for those under his stewardship.” –James Faust

 

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“The single most important key to success is to be a good listener.” –Kelly Wearstler

 

“Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble.” –Frank Tyger

5 Fundamentals to Achieve Peak Performance

Performance Breakthrough

A Radical Approach to Success at Work

Every day, you are performing. You step onto stage whether you are in the lead role or whether you are supporting others. Before the curtain goes up on today’s performance, study these 5 performance fundamentals so that you can perform at your peak.

Who better to teach these fundamentals than Cathy Salit? Cathy is the CEO and founder of Performance of a Lifetime. Her firm helps leaders and companies with the human side of business and strategy. For over twenty years, she has created custom workshops for companies ranging from American Express to Coca-Cola. Her new book, Performance Breakthrough: A Radical Approach to Success at Work is filled with lessons that will transform your performance.

 

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” -Lao-tzu

 

Performance Fundamental 1: Choose to grow.

You talk about growing instead of knowing. What’s the difference? And why is that important?

We live in a culture where knowing — having all the data, getting the right answer, knowing how to do things as a precondition for doing them — reigns supreme. I call this the “Knowing Paradigm,” and it’s commonly accepted as crucial to success in school, at work, and for life in general. And in moderation, there’s nothing wrong with knowing — it’s critically important when you want to cross the street in traffic, calculate a tip, perform brain surgery, etc.

But to the extent that the Knowing Paradigm crowds out everything else we can do — the growing and developing that comes not from knowing an answer or being right, but from the interplay of our creativity, emotions, perceptions, relationships, and environments — we’re missing out.

This wasn’t a problem when we were little kids (a time of enormous growth and transformation), when we were free to experiment, play, pretend, imagine, and perform. That kind of learning — sometimes called “developmental learning” — is how we learned to walk, talk, ride a bike and about a million other things that weren’t based in facts and we never studied for. And we got a ton of support from the adults in our lives to experiment, explore, and grow in this way.

Illustrations © 2016 by Drew Dernavich for PERFORMANCE BREAKTHROUGH. Approved for use by Drew Dernavich. Illustrations © 2016 by Drew Dernavich for PERFORMANCE BREAKTHROUGH. Approved for use by Drew Dernavich.

But it doesn’t last. For most of us there comes a point when we go from being praised for trying something new (even when we didn’t get it right) to being told we didn’t get it right (even though we were trying something new). Now it’s time to color inside the lines, stop playing around and get serious.

And by the time we get into the job market, the support we got to learn developmentally as children is long gone. As an adult, it can be embarrassing to not know. There are repercussions if we don’t get it right. We feel stupid, and we make others feel stupid if they don’t “have it together.”

 

“All the world’s a stage and most of us are desperately unrehearsed.” –Sean O’Casey

 

That’s one of the downsides of the Knowing Paradigm, and I think we need to challenge it. Being “smart” in this way is making us not so smart in other ways. We get stuck in our roles and our “scripts.” We narrow our interests and forget how to see and act in new ways.

Fortunately, we can start growing again — by reintroducing play, pretending, performing and improvising into our work and lives. We’re not just limited to what we already know and who we already are. We can be who we are and who we’re not…yet. We can be who we’re becoming. This is called the Becoming Principle, and it underlies everything we do and teach.

 

“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” –John Wooden

 

Embrace the Unknown

We shun the unknown and the ambiguous, but you say that embracing it is often the best path toward growth. Why is that, and what can help us to embrace it?

Oh, yes. Don’t we all wish we could know how things are going to turn out! Should I take this job? Get married? Come out? Move to another city? Have a kid? If only I knew for sure!

But we can’t know it all, and embracing the unknown and the ambiguous is a way to get in tune with that basic fact of life. As I’ve said, data and information are important, but they’re not all there is. For many of life’s opportunities, instead of “look before you leap,” I think you should “leap before you look.” Perform that new job, that move to a new city, that new relationship — and in the process live life, learn, grow, stretch, and go places and do things that can enrich you. And that goes for things that ultimately fail, as well as succeed.

Improvisation innovator Keith Johnstone said, “Those who say ‘yes’ are rewarded by the adventures they have. Those who say ‘no’ are rewarded by the safety they attain.” If you perform in a more adventurous way, you will have more adventures! If we are only who we already are — then we can’t grow. That’s why I write about the Becoming Principle, which is about being who you are and who you’re not…yet, at the same time.

 

“Those who say yes are rewarded by the adventures they have.” -Keith Johnstone

 

Performance Fundamental 2: Build ensembles everywhere.

Why are ensembles so helpful?

Don’t Listen to the Dream Killers

Dream Killers

Don’t Listen

You have a burning desire to be something, to do something. You want to make a mark on the world.

Maybe it’s to start a business or get a promotion. Perhaps your dream is to write a book or finally lose weight.

All around you are the voices of discouragement. No sooner do you announce your dream than you hear them drowning out your inner voice.

 

“What makes you think you can do that?”

“Really? Are you qualified?”

 

Some of them mean well.

Others only feel insecure, threatened that your dream will shift your current status and usher in unknown change.

They criticize you. Tell you that you can’t do it. They want you to give up. They want to keep you where you are.

Too many people seem to revel in killing dreams. Whether you let them or not is up to you.

 

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer.” –Harriet Tubman

 

Stay the Course

There’s art inside of you. It builds up like a pressure valve. Letting it out is the only relief, the only way to release the tension.

Don’t listen. Change the channel. Walk away.

That inner voice inside of you is speaking potential. That vision of yours is dimmed only by allowing the dream killers to steal your hope.

Don’t listen to the dream killers.

You have the ability. You have the potential. Your dream is within your grasp.

 

“Do not let dream killers dim your vision and steal your joy.” –Skip Prichard

 

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How to Improve Your Communication by Leaps and Bounds

No Cape Needed

No Cape Needed

Do you know the most common communication mistakes leaders make?

What practical steps can you take right now to be a more effective communicator?

What is the most common mistake we make when using email?

 

“True communication comes from a shared understanding of meaning.” -David Grossman

 

David Grossman is a communications expert. Both David and the firm he founded in 2000, The Grossman Group, have received numerous awards. Prior to founding the firm, he was director of communications for McDonald’s, and he teaches the only graduate course on internal communications in the U.S. at Columbia University.

What you notice when you pick up David’s latest book, No Cape Needed: The Simplest, Smartest, Fastest Steps to Improve How You Communicate by Leaps and Bounds, is that it’s stunning as a physical book. Full of colorful graphics, gorgeous photography, and digestible information, it is one of the reasons I still enjoy the physical book. Not only is it a gorgeous book, but it is full of immediately actionable, useful information. I recently asked David to share some of the wisdom from his book and his consulting practice.

 

“Communication really is a superpower.” -David Grossman

 

Communication is a Superpower

Question: As a kid, you wanted to have superpowers. As an adult you say, “Communication really is a superpower.” Explain why you elevate communication to that status.

I wholeheartedly believe that effective communication is really a way to make a difference.David Grossman

You can use communication to make others feel good about their jobs, to be engaged and excited, to help someone who’s having a hard time get through a rough patch, or to inspire a team. And in essence, you can use communication to make substantial changes that aren’t just about helping a company or team go from ‘good to great’ but instead create a lasting legacy through a new strategic direction.

A lot of people don’t think they can communicate well or don’t think they can develop the skill. But the truth is that it just takes practice. If leaders at all levels of their organizations come to realize that, then great things can happen for their companies. And they can become heroes of their own.

 

Cut-Through-Clutter-No-Cape-Needed-David-Grossman

3 Steps to Improve Your Communication

In your new book, No Cape Needed, what are the top three steps you recommend for improving communication?  

1. Understand your audience.

To truly move employees to action, we have to know what they care about and get into their mindset. As leaders we spend much of our time and effort setting business goals and developing plans to achieve them. Yet the most important element behind everything is your team. If they don’t understand where they fit in, all of our lofty goals will go nowhere.

2. Plan, and then communicate regularly.

Leaders often mistakenly assume that as long as they have ideas, a vision, and a sense of purpose, that will be enough to lead the way forward. If only it were that easy. In truth, good leaders know the importance of planning and clearly spelling out the path ahead. You can wing your communications and take a chance on the results or be planful and purposeful to increase your chances of success ten-fold.

3. Listen and create dialogue.

True communication comes from a shared understanding of meaning. Ask open-ended questions. Listen. Listen some more. Check for understanding.

 

“Leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” -John Maxwell

 

3 Common Communication Mistakes

What are some of the common mistakes leaders make when they communicate?

1. They don’t set the context. 

Why We Play the Comparison Game

Woman Comparing Unhealthy Donut And Orange Fruit

Will I Ever Catch Up?

He put his head in his hands.  We had only just sat down in a small café. It seemed that this was one time that I should not speak, so I let the silence drift between us mixing with the steam off my coffee mug.  My friend had asked for this meeting, but I didn’t know what he wanted.  The noises all around us dimmed when he finally looked up at me and explained. “Every time I start to feel like I am about to really achieve something, I don’t know what happens. I give up.”

I was surprised. He was successful. I’m not a psychologist, but it didn’t appear he was depressed so much as needing a boost of confidence.  Our conversation continued back and forth until a theme started to emerge.

My friend consistently compared himself to others who were, in his opinion, doing better, achieving more, and advancing faster.  He didn’t feel he could “catch up” to them.  The reality, of course, was that no one expected him to “catch up.”  He was doing well.  What was his real issue?

Comparing.

Recently, I heard that only 12% of women over 50 are satisfied with their bodies.  40% of men are dissatisfied with their appearance.  And the vast majority of us would change something about our physical appearance if we could.  We compare ourselves to airbrushed models and feel less attractive.

Why are we so discontent? Why do we unfairly compare ourselves to others?

There’s always someone richer, stronger, faster, smarter, or more talented, more polite, or more attractive. There are likely also people poorer, weaker, slower, less intelligent, with less talent, manners, and looks. Comparing ourselves to others can be debilitating in more ways than we realize.

 

“Leaders do not define success by the competition.” -Skip Prichard

 

Don’t Compare Up

When we look at someone else who has what we don’t have, we are “comparing up.” What does this do?  It robs us of joy.  It depresses us.  It makes us feel bad about ourselves, lowers our self-esteem. We may give up on our goals, thinking “Well, I could never compare to him” or “If she is that good, why should I even bother?”  We become less productive.  It slows us down.  We spend so much time comparing that we find we aren’t doing.  It invites envy, the insidious emotion, to a prominent place at the table of our mind.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” -Theodore Roosevelt

 

Don’t Compare Down

There are times we “compare down.”  We look at someone and feel sorry for him.  We hear about someone and think she doesn’t have what I have.  Whether it makes us feel better or superior, we have all had moments where we look at someone else as not as good as we are. While we pat ourselves on the back for being so brilliant, we actually are filling our mind with a cancerous attitude.  Arrogance creeps quietly into the room of our mind, an unnoticed intruder taking over.

 

“We’d achieve more if we chased our dreams instead of our competition.” -Simon Sinek

 

Shift the Focus