When I was in high school we were studying several Shakespeare plays, and every now and then I was struck by the poignancy of a given phrase.
One of them seemed to be a blending of Machiavelli and Dale Carnegie and it is still sage wisdom:
“To all lend thy ear, but few thy tongue. ”
I’ve never come across a pithier way of saying listening is more important than speaking.
And except for a very brief, and yes, shining moment in recent history, the laurels have gone to great speakers instead of to fine listeners.
At one point a large corporation, one of my consulting clients, declared in its advertising that “We understand the importance of listening. ” That same company resolved to train all of its associates in listening skills, and this launched a fad, for lack of a better term.
Listening became a topic in college catalogues, and other companies offered their own courses.
But then, seemingly as quickly as it burst onto the scene, listening faded as a topical area.
In a word, prosperity.
It seems companies are mostly interested in listening, especially to customers, when times are tough. The listening fad emerged during a deep recession, so corporations were willing to try anything.
Around this time, McDonald’s and Burger King coined, arguably, their most customer-centered slogans: “We Do It All For You” and “Have It Your Way. ”
Will listening make a comeback?
You can bet on it
Dr. Gary S. Goodman is the best-selling author of 12 books, over 700 articles, and the creator of numerous audio and video training programs, including “The Law of Large Numbers: How To Make Success Inevitable, " published by Nightingale-Conant-a favorite among salespeople and entrepreneurs. For information about booking Gary to speak at your next sales, customer service or management meeting, conference or convention, please address your inquiry to: email@example.com .