45 Communication Quotes To Bring Harmony To Lovers, Friends, Family, And Colleagues

We humans are the most skilled at it. We use a more complex form of it than any other species. And yet… we’re often found woefully lacking in it.

Communication is one of the key reasons we have evolved from nomadic, cave-dwelling creatures into the technologically advanced race that now populates most regions on Earth.

Listening, speaking, conveying our thoughts and feelings to others: they all lead to a better understanding of who each other are and what tasks need to be carried out to assure our continued survival and prosperity.

Or at least, that’s the theory.

In reality, despite our many complex languages and huge brains, our ability to accurately discern what each other thinks, feels, desires, and needs is often found wanting.

To help you improve your own communication skills, here are some quotes that shed light on the many nuances of effective transfer of information.

On Listening

Listen with curiosity. Speak with honesty. Act with integrity. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words. – Roy T. Bennett

Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker. When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested listening, our spirits expand. – Sue Thoele

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

I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening. – Larry King

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. – Epictetus

When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen. – Ernest Hemingway

You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time. – M. Scott Peck

Two monologues do not make a dialogue. – Jeff Daly

On Saying Too Much

Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much. – Robert Greenleaf

What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention. – Herbert A. Simon

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. – often attributed to Plato, but no evidence for this

Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot. – D.H. Lawrence

Do not say a little in many words but a great deal in a few. – Pythagoras

Today, communication itself is the problem. We have become the world’s first overcommunicated society. Each year we send more and receive less. – Al Ries

Saying nothing… sometimes says the most. – Emily Dickinson

Speak only if it improves upon the silence. – Mahatma Gandhi

On Being Understood

The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through. – Sydney J. Harris

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

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

Good communication does not mean that you have to speak in perfectly formed sentences and paragraphs. It isn’t about slickness. Simple and clear go a long way. – John Kotter

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. – William H. Whyte

On Nonverbal Communication

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said. – Peter Drucker

What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Setting a good example is truly the most effective means of communication. – Jan Carlzon

In the last analysis, what we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say or do. – Stephen Covey

Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid. – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language. – Walt Disney

A picture paints a thousand words. – Unknown

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On Who You Are Communicating With

I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university. – Albert Einstein

The basic building block of good communications is the feeling that every human being is unique and of value. – Unknown

To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others. – Tony Robbins

Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people. – William Butler Yeats

On Knowing What To Say And When To Say It

First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak. – Epictetus

Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret. – Groucho Marx

We should be as careful of our words as of our actions. – Cicero

Two men in a burning house must not stop to argue. – African Proverb

On Telling Stories

Storytellers, by the very act of telling, communicate a radical learning that changes lives and the world: telling stories is a universally accessible means through which people make meaning. – Chris Cavanaugh

Audiences forget facts, but they remember stories. Once you get past the jargon, the corporate world is an endless source of fascinating stories. – Ian Griffin

On The Power Of Communication

Talk is by far the most accessible of pleasures. It costs nothing in money, it is all profit, it completes our education, founds and fosters our friendships, and can be enjoyed at any age and in almost any state of health. – Robert Louis Stevenson

Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they can not communicate; they can not communicate because they are separated. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

On Getting Better At It

Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of very part of your life. – Brian Tracy

Communication works for those who work at it. – John Powell

And The Rest

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. – Unknown

Examine what is said and not who speaks. – Arab Proverb

There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it. – Dale Carnegie

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