Posts Tagged ‘listening’


Humorous Quotations About Listening, Part Two

March 6, 2008

As International Listening Awareness Month (sponsored by the International Listening Association) progresses, let’s take some time to enjoy several humorous quotations about listening. This posting is part two of a three-part series.

The older I grow the more I listen to people who don’t talk much. — Germain G. Glien

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously. — Hubert Humphrey

One advantage of talking to yourself is that you know at least somebody’s listening. — Franklin P. Jones

The opposite of talking is not listening. The opposite of talking is waiting.— Fran Lebowitz

If you want to know how your girl will treat you after marriage, just listen to her talking to her little brother. — Sam Levenson

The difference between listening to a radio sermon and going to church. . . is almost like the difference between calling your girl on the phone and spending an evening with her. — Dwight L. Moody

Boredom is having to listen to someone talk about himself when I want to talk about me. — Tom Paciorek

An intellectual snob is someone who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger. — Dan Rather

And now listen to some Out to Lunch Jokes from Katey, a second-grader

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Humorous Quotations About Listening, Part One

March 5, 2008

Now that March has arrived, it is  International Listening Awareness Month (sponsored by the International Listening Association); let’s take some time to enjoy several humorous quotations about listening. This posting is part one of a three-part series.

History repeats itself because no one listens the first time. — Anonymous

Conversation: a vocal competition in which the one who is catching his breath is called the listener. — Anonymous

“You know, it’s at times like this when I’m trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I’d listened to what my mother told me when I was young!” “Why, what did she tell you?” “I don’t know, I didn’t listen!” — Douglas Adams

My wife says I never listen to her. At least I think that’s what she said. — Anonymous

If you want your spouse to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say, talk in your sleep.— Anonymous

It’s my job to talk and yours to listen, but please, let me know if you finish before I do. — Anonymous

Women like silent men. They think they’re listening. — Marcel Archard

To understand this important story, you have to understand how the telephone company works. Your telephone is connected to a local computer, which is in turn connected to a regional computer, which is in turn connected to a loudspeaker the size of a garbage truck on the lawn of Edna A. Bargewater of Lawrence, Kan. Whenever you talk on the phone, your local computer listens in. If it suspects you’re going to discuss an intimate topic, it notifies the computer above it, which listens in and decides whether to alert the one above it, until finally, if you really humiliate yourself, maybe break down in tears and tell your closest friend about a sordid incident from your past involving a seedy motel, a neighbor’s spouse, an entire religious order, a garden hose and six quarts of tapioca pudding, the top computer feeds your conversation into Edna’s loudspeaker, and she and her friends come out on the porch to listen and drink gin and laugh themselves silly. What Women Want: To be loved, to be listened to, to be desired, to be respected, to be needed, to be trusted, and sometimes, just to be held. What Men Want: Tickets for the world series.— Dave Barry 

Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen. — Ambrose Bierce

An actor’s a guy who if you ain’t talkin’ about him, ain’t listening. — Marlon Brando

It’s a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn’t want to hear. — Dick Cavett

I’ll defend to the death your right to say that, but I never said I’d listen to it! — Tom Galloway


Quotations on Listening and Caring

February 28, 2008

Earlier this month, so many people I care about were struggling in so many ways . . . the death of friends in a car accident, serious health issues, and more. What could I possibly say to them to help ease their pain? I thought and thought. And then I remembered the two most important words in situations like these: “I’m listening.”

Here are several of my favorite quotations on listening and caring:

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. — Leo Buscaglia

Only when the clamor of the outside world is silenced will you be able to hear the deeper vibration. Listen carefully. — Sarah Ban Breathnach

Listening is noting what, when and how something is being said. Listening is distinguishing what is not being said from what is silence. Listening is not acting like you’re in a hurry, even if you are. Listening is eye contact, a hand placed gently upon an arm. Sometimes, listening is taking careful notes in the person’s own words. Listening involves suspension of judgment. It is neither analyzing nor racking your brain for labels, diagnoses, or remedies before the person is done relating her symptoms. Listening, like labor assisting, creates a safe space where whatever needs to happen or be said can come. — Allison Para Bastien

My only advice is to stay aware, listen carefully and yell for help if you need it. — Judy Blume

I tell you everything that is really nothing, and nothing of what is everything, do not be fooled by what I am saying. Please listen carefully and try to hear what I am not saying. — Charles C. Finn


Quotations on Listening and Freedom

February 5, 2008

Free speech carries with it some freedom to listen. — Warren Burger

What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to. — Hansell B. Duckett

The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen. — Tommy Smothers

While the right to talk may be the beginning of freedom, the necessity of listening is what makes that right important. — Walter Lippmann

And, if we care to listen, we can always hear them. Men are not innocent as beasts and never can be. Man can improve himself but never will himself be perfect, Only the free have disposition to be truthful, Only the truthful have the interest to be just, Only the just possess the will power to be free. — W.H. Auden

The truth which makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear. — James Bishop

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears. — Julius Caesar

The grace of listening is lost if the listener’s attention is demanded, not as a favour, but as a right. — Pliny the Younger

A politician’s willingness to listen to good advice rises in inverse proportion to how badly he thinks he is doing. — Pat Caddell

I’ll defend to the death your right to say that, but I never said I’d listen to it! — Tom Galloway

The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously. — Hubert Humphrey


Quotations on Effective Listening

February 3, 2008

Effective listeners remember that “words have no meaning – people have meaning.” The assignment of meaning to a term is an internal process; meaning comes from inside us. And although our experiences, knowledge and attitudes differ, we often misinterpret each other’s messages while under the illusion that a common understanding has been achieved. — Larry Barker

Listening for and identifying the tone in others and adapting appropriately — as well being conscious of the tone of your own messages — will determine your communication effectiveness. Being tone conscious will prevent you from sending and receiving messages that fall on deaf ears. Sometimes the most revealing part of a message isn’t found in the words themselves but in the subtle messages wrapped around those words. Failure to pick up on these “secret messages” may leave you blind to what is really being communicated. . . . — Dianne Booher

Our first responsibility as effective listeners is to understand ourselves as communicators. Just as the sources of the communication message should be trained in self-intrapersonal communication, so, too, should listeners know themselves. — Carolyn Coakley

Every person in this life has something to teach me — and as soon as I accept that, I open myself to truly listening. — Catherine Doucette

We listen in order to learn and retain information. If we are speaking, we are not listening or learning anything to add to our sum of knowledge. This is why the first step to effective listening is to stop talking! — Ken Fracaro

Listening effectively to others can be the most fundamental and powerful communication tool of all. When someone is willing to stop talking or thinking and begin truly listening to others, all of their interactions become easier, and communication problems are all but eliminated. — Ken Johnson

The contrast between hearing and really listening can be as different as night and day. And in a business environment, not listening effectively to customers, employees, and peers can mean the difference between success and failure. — Ken Johnson

Listening well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well. — John Marshall

When making personal decisions, listen to what your head says; then listen to what your heart says. If they differ, follow your heart! Whenever you listen to your heart, you listen to that part of you that is most interested in your well-being. — Anonymous


Give the Gift of Listening

December 24, 2007

Consider for a moment a variation on an early scene from my favorite movie of all time, the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz:

Aunt Em: Why don’t you find a place where [you will be listened to]!
Dorothy: A place where [I will be listened to]. Do you suppose there is such a place Toto? There must be. It’s not a place you can get to by a boat or a train. It’s far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain.

What can I give my family and friends for Christmas? This lament is likely to be heard around the globe as people struggle with gift choices for their hard-to-buy-for loved ones. Here’s an idea for you: become someone who is known for listening to your loved ones. And then, really, truly, deeply listen to them. Make this commitment to them in writing. The feeling of being listened to is one that will last long beyond the mayhem of Christmas morning.

Especially for close friends and family members, consider spending some private time with them and interviewing them about their lives. StoryCorps, “an independent, nonprofit project whose mission is to honor and celebrate one another’s lives through listening,” suggests questions you can ask to help you get started. (You can use their Question Generator to create a customized list of questions, or simply use their Question List.) Or, you may want to ask several of the questions around the dinner table rather than focusing all the questions toward one person. You’ll be surprised at some of the things you never knew. The more you know, the richer your relationships will be.

And if you want to go one step further, try one of these ideas, too:

At least for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, remember to “whole-face listen” to those you are spending time with. They’ll appreciate it. And you’ll become closer to them in the process.


On Listening & Diversity, Part Deux

December 21, 2007

As you read through the listening proverbs from around the globe, choose one or two quotations that you think are particularly insightful. You may wish to focus on those from your ethnic heritage, if you desire. 

  • No one is as deaf as the man who will not listen. — Jewish Proverb
  • It is easier to make a camel jump a ditch than to make a fool listen to reason. — Kurdish Proverb
  • Keep quiet and people will think  you a philosopher. — Latin Proverb
  • Listen or thy tongue will keep thee deaf. — Native American Proverb
  • Listening to a liar is like drinking warm water. — Native American Proverb
  • Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may not remember. Involve me, and I’ll understand. — Native American Proverb
  • Words must be weighed, not counted. — Polish Proverb
  • Eat what is cooked; listen to what is said. — Russian Proverb
  • God will listen to you whatever cloak you wear. — Spanish Proverb
  • Don’t speak unless you can improve on the silence. — Spanish Proverb
  • When one shuts one eye, one does not hear everything. — Swiss Proverb
  • Listen a hundred times; ponder a thousand times; speak once. — Turkish Proverb
  • How many will listen to the truth when you tell them? — Yiddish Proverb
  • Don’t judge a man by the words of his mother, listen to the comments of his neighbors. — Yiddish Proverb
  • The devil comes to us in our hour of darkness, but we do not have to let him in. And we do not have to listen either… — Yiddish Proverb
  • Knock on the sky and listen to the sound. — Zen saying
  • What the poor man says is not listened to. — Zulu Proverb