Facilitating communication skills with Listening Quotes

I recently facilitated a session with a staff team to help them learn, practice, and apply communication skills. I am sharing some of the techniques I used and to which participants responded enthusiastically. This post is about listening quotes; my next post will be a technique using active listening with a group.

Purpose of using quotes

Quotes are a great way to start a session about communication, particularly listening.

  • The quotes give objective data that informs and also evokes emotions.
  • Quotes in the text can be easily mixed with techniques of movement, drawing, images, and silence.
  • Using quotes focuses participants on the topic.
  • Quotes provide humour and fun.


Start each technique with each person choosing one quote that appeals to them in the moment. The following list gives a variety of techniques, each standing on its own.

  1. In pairs, explain to another person why you chose the quote.
  2. Everyone walks around the room, talking to three other people about the quote they selected.
  3. Draw an image of the quote and then share with someone else in a pair or with a larger group.
  4. In pairs, share your quote in silence. Act it (like charades) and the partner guesses which quote you choose.
  5. In small groups, talk about your quote. Then, as a group, choose one of the quotes. With each person involved, create a body sculpture depicting the quote.
  6. In small groups, talk about your quote. Then, as a group, choose one of the quotes. With each person involved, create a picture depicting the quote. Provide markers, coloured artist chalk, or magazine clippings.


Here are various quotes to use. And many more can be found.

  • Listen with the intent to understand, not the intent to reply.
    (Stephen Covey, author)
  • We have only two ears and one mouth; so we may listen more and talk less. (Attributed to Epictetus or Diogenes, philosophers)
  • Be as passionate about listening as you are about wanting to be heard.
    (Brene Brown, professor)
  • W.A.I.T.:  Why. Am. I. Talking. (Jo Nelson, Facilitator)
  • There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak. (Simon Sinek, author)
  • The greatest compliment that was ever paid me was when one asked me what I thought and attended to my answer.
    (Henry David Thoreau, naturalist)
  • I like the fact that listen is an anagram of silent.
    (Alfred Brendel, classical pianist)
  • A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end, he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with. (Kenneth A. Wells)
  •  It is hard to listen when you are talking, or when you are thinking of a response. (Catherine Pulsifer, author)
  • You can’t fake listening. It shows. (Raquel Welch)
A list of ten quotes about listening.

What quotes about listening do you like, from the ones above or others that you use? What techniques do you use for helping participants in meetings and workshops learn and practice listening? Drop a note in the comments.

Please contact me at www.barbpedersen.ca with inquiries about facilitation, communication, listening, teambuilding, strategic planning, idea generation, and other discussion and decision-making methods.

Facilitating communication skills with Listening Quotes