Einstein Says ‘Keep Your Mouth Shut’

Introduction to Public Speaking

Public Communication

Writing for Mass Communications

Principles of Marketing


How many of these course titles sound familiar?

Ever typed out the phrase “excellent written and verbal communication skills” on a resumé? 

That’s because in business, and in life, there is a huge emphasis on learning and perfecting the art of communication. Being able to successfully and correctly share, convey, and impart information on others is a crucial part of interpersonal relationships. But what about the other half of communication?

According to Google, ‘communication’ is defined as “the imparting or exchanging of information or news” or the “means of sending or receiving information, such as telephone lines or computers”. 

We are all eager to learn, implement and utilize the ‘sending’ part of the equation but what about the receiving of messages? The LISTENING?

This week on a rogue episode of Women Your Mother Warned You About co hosts Gina Trimarco, Rachel Pitts, and Keith Walters discussed lessons they had learned in 2019, both personally and professionally.  While they all agreed that they need to ‘slow down’, and ‘do less but with more purpose’ they also talked at length about the importance of LISTENING. And how there’s nothing like a good pen. But mostly the importance of LISTENING.

Most of us don’t really listen very well.  We’re too often consumed with having the answer, or in some cases having ALL the answers. And others are too busy telling everyone what to do. Keith named this as the ‘Founder-CEO Problem’, where the “Founder-CEO doesn’t listen, they tell what to do, so it never gets passed their [own] ideas” leaving untapped wisdom in the room. Or, in most cases, if we do manage to hear another person, we are often just anxiously waiting for the other person to finish so that we can contribute our thoughts. One of those “put me in coach” moments. That’s not exactly listening.

The folks over at MindTools.com describe listening as “making a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, the complete message being communicated.” Paying careful attention to words, tone and even the body language of the other person will drastically improve your listening skills. And in becoming a better listener, your productivity will improve as well as your ability to “influence, persuade, and negotiate.”  

Like other communication skills, Keith assures us “it’s a learned behavior”. According to Forbes it’s as easy as “facing the speaker and maintaining eye contact”, not interrupting and paying attention to what isn’t said, those nonverbal cues.” 

Still not convinced that sitting back and simply absorbing the information around you is enough?  At the very least it’s worth LISTENING to the advice of a Nobel Peace Prize winning theoretical physicist, as Einstein once said:

“If ‘a’ equals success in life, then a = x+y+z. Where ‘x’ is work, ‘y’ is play and ‘z’ is keeping your mouth shut.”

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