How To Speak, How To Listen 2

Yesterday I cited Mortimer J. Adler’s book How to Speak How to Listen where the author paired the communication skills of writing with reading and speaking with listening. Mr. Adler also wrote that the pair of speaking and listening is more difficult to acquire than the reading and writing pair. Here’s why.

Superficially, the two pairs appear to be parallel since both involve language and both are used to connect one mind to another. Yet there is a very fundamental difference between the two pairs and that difference is fluidity, immediacy and fluency.

The written word was invented to be read, to be more or less permanent. Consider when something is written. It can be gone over and edited before it is released to be read. The communication is not immediate; there is always a time lag between the writing and the reading. This pair, when compared to speaking and listening, is static, resembling painting and sculpture rather than a performing art such as acting or dancing.

When communication is spoken and listened to one is not able to go back and change what has been said and listened to. We can correct ourselves when we have misspoken but it is not so easy to forget our first and immediate impression of the performance — despite what judges tell juries to do!

‘Speaking and Listening’ has the element of ‘Standing and Delivering’ to it. This similarity may explain to a large degree why Network Marketers need these skills and also why they are very uncomfortable using them, lending insight as to why so many struggle. ~~~

While I enthusiastically recommend Mr. Adler’s book How to Speak How to Listen , he does use a lot of examples from the classical world making the book rather academic. If you are a network marketer or in conventional sales, looking to improve your commercial speaking and listening skills you can’t do any better than Tom ‘Big Al’ Schreiter. You can find a list of his 25 Essential Skills for Network Marketers at and sign up for his newsletter at at no cost.

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