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Quotations: Communication & Listening

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Communication & Listening

“When you talk, you repeat what you already know; when you listen, you often learn something.” —Jared Sparks


Quotations from Various Sources

Organized Alphabetically

“A bird that you set free may be caught again, but a word that escapes your lips will not return.” —Jewish proverb

“A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“A friend is someone with whom you dare to be yourself.” —Frank Crane

“A friend to all is a friend to none.” —Aristotle

“A hut full of laughter is richer than a palace full of sadness.” —Buddhist saying

“A man who takes pleasure in speaking continuously fools himself in thinking he is not unpleasant to those around him.” —Sophocles

“A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.” —Gandhi

“A true holy person speaks little, but when necessary uses words which are sweet.” —Dhammapada: The Holy Person, verse 363

“A wise man does not chatter with one whose mind is sick.” —Sophocles, The Women of Trachis

“Always when you are about to say anything, first weigh it in your mind; for with many the tongue outruns the thought.” —Isocrates, letter to Demonicus

“Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken.” —Orson Card

“And be silent for the most part, or else make only the most necessary remarks, and express these in few words. But rarely, and when occasion requires you to talk, talk, indeed, but about no ordinary topics. Do not talk about gladiators, or horseraces, or athletes, or things to eat or drink–topics that arise on all occasions; but above all, do not talk about people, either blaming, or praising, or comparing them.” —Epictetus, Enchiridion

“Be a friend to thyself, and others will be so too.” —Thomas Fuller

“Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.” —D. H. Lawrence

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” —Dr. Seuss

“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;” —I Peter 1:15

“But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” —Matthew 5:39

“Consider before acting, to avoid foolishness: It is the worthless man who speaks and acts thoughtlessly.” —Pythagoras

“Constant talk does not mean wisdom. On the other hand, the signs of patience, love, and freedom will direct you to the wise person.” —Dhammapada: A Proper Life, verse 258

“Don’t say things. What you are stands over you the while, and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Don’t speak unless you can improve on the silence.” —Spanish proverb

“Don’t talk unless you can improve the silence.” —Jorge Luis Borges

“Don’t worry that you kinds don’t always listen to you. Worry that they’re always watching you.” —Robert Fulghum

“Draw me not away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.” —Psalms 28:3

“Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” —Proverbs 17:28

“Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness.” —Samuel Beckett

“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” —Carl Jung

“First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.” —Epictetus

“Foolishness always results when the tongue outraces the brain.” —Unknown

“Free expression is the base of human rights, the root of human nature and the mother of truth. To kill free speech is to insult human rights, to stifle human nature and to suppress truth” —Liu Xiaobo, Noble Peace Prize laureate

“Freedom lies in being bold.” —Robert Frost

“Give people the right to be wrong. They will exercise this right whether you give it to them or not.” —Windy Dryden

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

“He who talks more is sooner exhausted.” —Lao Tzu

“I have often repented speaking, but never of holding my tongue.” —Xenocrates, fragment

“If you cannot say what you have to say in twenty minutes, you should go away and write a book about it.” —Lord Brabazon

“It is better to ask some of the questions than know all the answers.” —James Thurber

“Knowledge speaks, wisdom listens.” —Jimi Hendrix

“Let there be but two occasions for speech–when the subject is one which you thoroughly know and when it is one on which you are compelled to speak. On these occasions alone is speech better than silence; on all others, it is better to be silent than to speak.” —Isocrates, letter to Demonicus

“Misery is the end of those with unbridled mouths.” —Euripides, Bacchants

“Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of a witness.” —Margaret Millar

“Nature has give us one tongue and two ears so that we would listen twice as much as we speak.” —Zeno of Elea

“Nothing is more articulate than silence.” —Kevin Everett FitzMaurice

“Now I see that going out into the testing ground of men it is the tongue and not the deed that wins the day.” —Sophocles, Philoctetes

“Of all possessions a friend is the most precious.” —Herodotus

“Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.” —Janet Lane

“Oysters open completely when the moon is full; and when the crab sees one it throws a piece of stone or seaweed into it and the oyster cannot close again so that it serves the crab for meat. Such is the fate of him who opens his mouth too much and thereby puts himself at the mercy of the listener.” —Leonardo da Vinci

“People don’t care what you know, until they know that you care.” —President Teddy Roosevelt

“Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” —Proverbs 16:24

“Silence is a source of great strength.” —Lao Tzu

“Silence is an answer in the eyes of the wise.” —Euripides

“Silence, healing” —Heraclitus

“Sir, when two people have the extraordinary quality of this state, words are not necessary. Where that quality of love exists, words become unnecessary. There is instant communication.” —J. Krishnamurti, Can Humanity Change?, p. 79

“Some man holdeth his tongue, because he hath not to answer: and some keepeth silence, knowing his time.” —Ecclesiasticus 20:6

“Speak gently to everyone and they will respond accordingly. Harsh words hurt, and you will get them thrown back in your face.” —Dhammapada: Retribution, verse 133

“Speak not nor act before thou hast reflected.” —Pythagoras

“Speak only if it improves upon the silence.” ―Mahatma Gandhi

“That is, sir, there can only be communication, communion, when you and I are on the same level, and with the same intensity, at the same time.” —J. Krishnamurti, Can Humanity Change? p. 78

“The ability to speak eloquently is not to be confused with having something to say.”–Michael P. Hart

“The first duty of love is to listen.” —Paul Tillich, 1886-1965

“The great rivers flow quietly; a wise man doesn’t raise his voice.” —Chinese proverb

“The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best.” —Epictetus

“The most precious things in speech are pauses.” —Ralph Richardson

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” —George Bernard Shaw

“There are very few people who don’t become more interesting when they stop talking.” —Mary Lowry

“There is a lot to be said for the person who doesn’t say it himself.” —Maurice Switzer

“They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” —Carl W. Buechner (not Maya Angelou)

“To give a person an opinion one must first judge well whether that person is of the disposition to receive it or not.” —Yamamoto Tsunetomo, Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai

“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth.” —Hermann Hesse

“Two monologues do not make a dialogue.” —Jeff Daly

“What we cannot speak of, we must pass over in silence.” —Ludwig Wittgenstein

“Whatever advice you give, be brief.” —Horace

“When you talk, you repeat what you already know; when you listen, you often learn something.” —Jared Sparks

“Whoever knows he is deep, strives for clarity; whoever would like to appear deep to the crowd, strives for obscurity. For the crowd considers anything deep if only it cannot see to the bottom: the crowd is so timid and afraid of going into the water.” —Friedrich Nietzsche

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” —Epictetus

“We need silence to be able to touch souls.” —Mother Teresa

“When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.” —Wayne Dyer

“Where two discourse, if the one’s anger rise, the man who lets the contest fall is wise.” —Euripides

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

“Wise men don’t judge–they seek to understand.” —Wei Wu Wei

“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something.” — Plato

“You can be right or righteous.” —Anonymous

“You can be right, or you can be happy.” —Anonymous

“You can stroke people with words.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald

“You need to know when to speak your mind and what the penalty will be for doing so. Sometimes it’s worth it, and often it’s not!” —Albert Ellis


An Explanation for the Existence of Manners & Politeness

“A number of porcupines huddled together for warmth on a cold day in winter; but, as they began to prick one another with their quills, they were obliged to disperse. However, the cold drove them together again, when just the same thing happened. At last, after many turns of huddling and dispersing, they discovered that they would be best off by remaining at a little distance from one another. In the same way, the need of society drives the human porcupines together, only to be mutually repelled by the many prickly and disagreeable qualities of their nature. The moderate distance which they, at last, discover to be the only tolerable condition of intercourse is the code of politeness and fine manners, and those who transgress it are roughly told—in the English phrase—to keep their distance. By this arrangement, the mutual need of warmth is only very moderately satisfied, but then people do not get pricked. A man who has some heat in himself prefers to remain outside, where he will neither prick other people nor get pricked himself.” ―Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Paralipomena


Related Information

Tedx Talk on the Power of Listening to Change Minds: YouTube

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