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I have just finished reading a great book by Steve Ogne and Tim Roehl called Transformissional Coaching.  One of the chapters that caught my attention, probably because it addresses an issue that I have dealt with all of my life, is entitled Listening First: He who speaks without listening.  It had lots of good insights into the importance and benefits of listening as well as some practical stuff about developing good listening skills.  But what really got me focused was a listing of quotations about listening that have invited much reflection.  Whether we are in a coaching relationship, a pastoral relationship, a marriage relationship, or a friendship, I think these speak volumes to us.

So I thought I’d share a few of them with you…

  • History repeats itself because no one listens the first time.  (Anonymous)
  • A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something. (Wilson Mizner)
  • It’s extremely difficult to introduce vital new knowledge when everybody assumes he already knows all that needs to be known.  (Lee Thayer)
  • You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.  (M. Scott Peck)
  • If speaking is silver, then listening is gold.  (Turkish proverb)
  • Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen. (Ambrose Bierce)
  • It is all right to hold a conversation, but you should let go of it now and then.  (Richard Armour)
  • Every person I work with knows something better than me.  My job is to listen long enough to find it and use it.  (Jack Nichols)
  • No one ever listened themselves out of a job.  (Calvin Coolidge)
  • An open ear is the only believable sign of an open heart. (David Augsburger)
  • Listening is the single skill that makes the difference between a mediocre and a great company.  (Lee Iacocca)
  • The first duty of love is to listen.  (Paul Tillich)
  • The best time to hold your tongue is the time you feel you must say something or bust.  (Josh Billings)
  • Forty-six percent of those who quit their jobs last year did so because they felt unappreciated.  (U.S. Department of Labor)
  • Big egos have little ears.  (Robert Schuller)

Listening may be the most important thing we do in our ministry and in our relationships.  I hope these have given you pause for reflection as well.

Dr. Phil Maynard
Office of Congregational Transformation