Communication Quotes


    A text, without a context, is but a pretext.

    I’ve never found an interesting person with a foul mouth. – Marilyn vos Savant

    He talks like he is diagonally parked in a parallel universe.

    I know what I say at times is not very diplomatic. – Nikita Khrushchev (famous for pounding his lectern with his shoe)

    Most people have a furious itch to talk about themselves and are restrained only by the disinclination of others to listen. Reserve is an artificial quality that is developed in most of us as the result of innumerable rebuffs. – W. Somerset Maughan

    Look wise, say nothing, and grunt. Speech was given to conceal thought. – Sir William Osler

    Don’t knock the weather. If it didn’t change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn’t start a conversation. – Kin Hubbard

    Diplomacy is the language of international relations, which can say one thing that has two absolutely opposite meanings…

    To the press alone, checkered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression. – Thomas Jefferson

    Anger is the feeling that makes your mouth work faster than your mind. – Evan Esar

    A diplomat is one who can tell a man he’s open-minded when he means he has a hole in his head.

    She had a pretty gift for quotation, which is a serviceable substitute for wit. – W. Somerset Maugham

    In 1931, Charlie Chaplin and Albert Einstein drove down a street together. Pedestrians waved and cheered. Chaplin explained all of this: “The people are applauding you because none of them understands you, and applauding me, because everybody understands me.”

    I’m going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose. – S.I. Hayakawa

    His enemies might have said before that he talked rather too much; but now he has occasional flashes of silence that make his conversation perfectly delightful. – Syndey Smith writing on Thomas Macaulay, Scottish author and statesman

    Cynicism is the intellectual cripple’s substitute for intelligence. It is the dishonest businessman’s substitute for conscience. It is the communicator’s substitute, whether he is advertising man or editor or writer, for self-respect. – Russell Lynes

    A man’s judgment cannot be better than the information on which he has based it. Give him no news, or present him only with distorted and incomplete data, with ignorant, sloppy, or biased reporting, with propaganda and deliberate falsehoods, and you destroy his whole reasoning process and make him somewhat less than a man. – Arthur Hays Sulzberger

    He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I ever met. – Abraham Lincoln

    A powerful agent is the right word. Whenever we come upon one of those intensely right words in a book or newspaper the resulting effect is physical as well as spiritual, and electrically prompt. – Mark Twain

    It is not necessary to understand things in order to argue about them. – Caron De Beaumarchais, the Barber of Seville

    Never tell all that you know, or do all that you can, or believe all that you hear. – Portuguese proverb

    Scholarship is polite argument. – Philip Rieff, associate professor, University of California

    Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them. – Adlai Stevenson

    The time to stop talking is when the other person nods his head affirmatively but says nothing. – Henry S. Haskins

    Writers have two main problems. One is writer’s block, when the words won’t come at all, and the other is logorrhea, when the words come so fast that they can hardly get to the wastebasket in time. – Cecilia Bartholomew

    I took a course in speed reading and was able to read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It’s about Russia. – Woody Allen

    The covers of this book are too far apart. – Ambrose Bierce

    “I found out early in life that you never have to explain something you haven’t said.” – US President Calvin Coolidge when asked why he spoke so little

    “For the first six months, you should listen and not become involved in debate,” Disraeli advised a newly elected member of Parliament. “But,” the man replied, “my colleagues will wonder why I do not speak.” “Better they should wonder why you do not speak,” explained Disraeli, “than why you do.”

    If you can ask the right question, you will find that it contains some or most of the right answer.

    Seek not so much to be understood as to understand. – Francis of Assisi

    He talked with more claret than clarity. – Susan Ertz

    Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech. – Marlin Tupper

    I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant. – Robert McCloskey

    Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent. – Victor Peale

    Confidence, like art, never comes from having all the answers; it comes form being open to all the questions. – Earl Gray Stevens

    There are two kinds of light–the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures. – James Thurber

    The man who can think and does not know how to express what he thinks is at the level of him who cannot think. – Greek proverb

    Seven Principles of Good Communication
    1. Keep it simple
    2. Use metaphors and analogy
    3. Use many different forums to spread the word
    4. Repeat, repeat, repeat
    5. Lead by example
    6. Explicity address inconsistencies
    7. Listen and be listened to
    – John P. Kotter, “Leading Change”

    A scatterbrain is one who never has an unspoken thought.

    A bore is a fellow who opens his mouth and puts his feats in it. – Henry Ford

    Blessed is he who, having nothing to say, refrains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.

    The boor is of no use in conversation. He contributes nothing worth hearing, and takes offense at everything. – Aristotle

    Definition of a bore: A person who talks when you wish him to listen. – Ambrose Bierce

    The wise man, even when he holds his tongue, says more than the fool when he speaks. – Thomas Fuller

    Dentopedalogy is the science of opening your mouth and putting your foot in it. I’ve been practicing it for years. – Prince Philip

    The are no illegitimate questions, only illegitimate answers. – Hershel Shanks

    A loud voice cannot compete with a clear voice, even if it’s a whisper. – Barry Neil Kaufman

    Never answer a letter while you are angry. – Chinese proverb

    In the market of speech, supply most often exceeds demand – Source unknown

    Nobody talks much who doesn’t say unwise things – things he did not mean to say. Talk, to me, is only spading up the ground for crops of thought. I can’t answer for what will turn up. – Oliver Wendell Holmes

    Nothing is often a good thing to say, and always a clever thing to say. – Will Durant

    To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well. – Chief Justice John Marshall

    The less you talk, the more you’re listened to. – Abigail Van Buren

    No one means all he says, and yet few say all they mean. For words are slippery and thought is vicious. – Henry Brooks Adams

    I was angry with my friend:
    I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
    I was angry with my foe:
    I told it not, my wrath did grow.
    – William Blake

    When you are angry say nothing and do nothing until you have recited the alphabet. – Ancient Greek proverb

    When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, a hundred. – Thomas Jefferson

    When angry, count four; when very angry, swear. – Mark Twain

    To speak ill of others is a dishonest way of praising ourselves… let us be above such transparent egotism. – Will Durant

    I have made this letter longer because I lack the time to make it shorter. – Blaise Pascal
    (Also attributed in different form to Abraham Lincoln, “I would have written a shorter letter but I didn’t have the time.”

    Do not 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

    Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of a witness. – Margaret Millar

    Expression deepens impression.

    It’s important to talk to people in their own language. If you do it well, they’ll say, “Gosh, he said exactly what I was thinking.” And when they begin to respect you, they’ll follow you to the death. The reason they’re following you is not because you’re providing some mysterious leadership. It’s because you’re following them. – Lee Iacocca

    What you read is news.
    What you hear is background.
    What you feel is opinion.

    Communication Barriers:
    1. Name-calling
    2. Diagnosing
    3. Ordering (Saying “Do it or else!” only stimulates curiosity about the “else”)
    4. Threatening
    5. Diverting (“So you think you’ve had a bad day ….”)
    6. Sarcasm (“Can’t you take a joke?”)
    7. Dragging up the past
    8. Negative comparisons (“Why aren’t you more like …”)
    9. Judgemental “You” messages
    10. Lecturing

    When all is said and done, usually more has been said than done!

    If you’re not sick and tired of communicating, you’re not doing it enough. – Charlie Shedd

    The worst thing about a bore is not that he won’t stop talking, but that he won’t let you stop listening.

    He has occasional flashes of silence that make his conversation perfectly delightful.

    The greatest problem of communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished. – George Bernard Shaw

    What do you mean we don’t communicate? Just yesterday I faxed you a reply to the recorded message you left on my answering machine. – Wall Street Journal

    I am unanimously in support of what I said even if others disagree. – Dan Quayle

    Women speak two languages, one of which is verbal. – Steve Rubenstein

    The spoken word belongs half to him who speaks, and half to him who listens. – French Proverb

    I thought you brought the tickets! – Couple overheard at the airport

    To get the right answer, it helps to ask the right question.

    How well we communicate is determined not by how well we say things but how well we are understood. – Andrew Grove

    If you don’t give people information, they’ll make up something to fill the void. – Carla O’Dell

    If you want to build trust in a relationship, make sure you use appropriate body language. When you speak to someone, face them directly, (nose to nose, toes to toes) rather than at an angle where their prerception may be that you are giving them the “cold shoulder.”

    Communication without compassion is brutality. – Sharon Johnson, IBM

    Management is like writing in the snow. You’ve got to keep repeating the message over and over.

    It’s a mistake to think we listen only with our ears. It’s much more important to listen with the mind, the eyes, the body, and the heart. Unless you truly want to understand the other person, you’ll never be able to listen. – Mark Herndon

    Seven Principles of Good Communication
    1. Keep it simple
    2. Use metaphors and analogy
    3. Use many different forums to spread the word
    4. Repeat, repeat, repeat
    5. Lead by example
    6. Explicitly address inconsistencies
    7. Listen and be listened to
    – John P. Kotter, “Leading Change”

    What we learn to do, we learn by doing.
    The EAR model is a useful tool for effective listening:
    E – EXPLORE using open-ended questions such as “What” and “How”, OBSERVE non-verbals
    A – ACKNOWLEDGE by paraphrasing what you think the message was
    When listening, people spend most of their time responding. To be an effective communicator, spend more time exploring, observing and acknowledging.

    When dealing with difficult BEHAVIORS say: “When you (describe behavior), I feel (describe feeling), and this results in (describe effect).”

    99% of all problems in communications start with mis-understandings which develop as a result of differing viewpoints and conditioning.

    When you are in it up to your ears, keep your mouth shut.

    The ability to express an idea is well nigh as important as the idea itself. – Bernard Baruch

    If you explain so clearly that no one can misunderstand, somebody will.

    Silence is argument carried on by other means. – Che Guevara

    It is all right to hold a conversation but you should let go of it now and then. – Richard Armour

    Diplomacy is thinking twice before saying nothing.

    Get in touch with the way the other person feels. Feelings are 55% body language, 38% tone and 7% words.

    It is better to use short common words and be thought half-educated than to utilize sesquipedantic locutions and remove all doubt.

    revised from the old saw, “better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt”

    Sesquipedantic is a made up word found on the blog “Today is International Make Up a Word Day” at this location
    Comment from Dave, a contributor on 26 Feb 2008 at 2:57 pm

    sesquipedantic – (adj) having a tendency to use very long, obscure words in a lecturing tone.

    A sort-of portmanteau of sesquipedalian and pedantic

    “The ullage of the pedagogical recitation was this: no shibboleths in soliloquies.”
    “Christ, Dave, you’re so sesquipedantic.”

    Used multiple times by a group of us since 2000; there are some google references.

    People should talk less and draw more. Personally, I would like to renounce speech altogether and, like organic nature, communicate everything I have to say visually. – Goethe

    The correct strategy for Americans negotiating with Japanese or other foreign clients is a Japanese strategy: ask questions. When you think you understand, ask more questions. Carefully feel for pressure points. If an impasse is reached, don’t pressure. Suggest a recess or another meeting.
    – John L. Graham and Roy A. Herberger Jr.

    In the course of your conversation each and every day,
    Think twice, try to be careful of what you have to say;
    Your remarks may be picked up by someone’s ear,
    You may be surprised at what some people think they hear.
    Things that you innocently say, or try to portray,
    Can be changed, and greatly exaggerated along the way;
    Many stories change for the worse as they are retold
    So try to keep any questionable remarks “on hold”.
    May I give all of you some very sound advice?
    When you speak of others, say something nice;
    Try to say good things, regardless of who is around,
    If you have nothing good to say, don’t utter a sound.
    You may find that an innocent remark, in the end,
    May lose you a close and valued friend.
    – Henry Lesser

    When in doubt, ask.
    When not in doubt, ask.
    If you are not in doubt, you may be kidding yourself.

    Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind. – Rudyard Kipling

    – “You look like the first day of Spring” vs “You look like the last day of a long hard winter”
    – “When I look at you, the wheels of time stand still” vs “Your face could stop a clock”

    God gave us two ears but only one mouth. Some people say that’s because he wanted us to spend twice as much time listening as talking. Others claim it’s because he knew listening was twice as hard as talking.

    In the last analysis, what we ARE communicates far more eloquently than anything we SAY.

    You can say “no” and smile only when there’s a bigger “yes” burning inside you.

    Very often when you look at the moon, you see only a part of it, but you know there is a much larger object there. Very often we look (or converse) with a person, and we see or are aware of only a small sliver of their life and we may think that that is all there is. Try to get to know more about the whole person!

    A gossiper is a person who talks to you about others. A dull person is a person who talks to you about themselves. An interesting person is a person to talks to you about yourself.

    What is the shortest word in the English language that contains the letters: abcdef? Answer: feedback. Don’t forget that “feedback” is one of the essential elements of good communication.

    BODY LANGUAGE often communicates more than words do. In front of a group, do the following: Say “Watch me and do what I ask you to do. Make a circle with your thumb and forefinger – like this. Now put this circle on your chin.” (As you say this, put the circle on your cheek.) Many will put the circle on their cheek rather than their chins, showing that they were following the body language rather than the words.

    His thoughts were slow, His words were few, And never formed to glisten, But he was a joy to all his friends, You should have heard him LISTEN!

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