The quote goes “the loudest one in the room is the weakest”. This is the famous quote from
Frank Lucas, impersonated by Denzel Washington in the famous American Gangster movie.
What this quote tells us is that true leaders are quiet observers, they take notes and ask
questions and never miss an opportunity to listen and learn. Similarly, the concept is greatly
spelled out in the book “Mother Theresa CEO”. The author explains that the most striking
lesson emerging from the meeting with the famous nun and saint, was that she listened as you were the most important thing in her life. In those silent minutes, she had prioritized learning something about her interlocutor and listening with dedication instead of sharing her wisdom and incredible life experiences.
In today’s marketplace, and even more so after Covid, each of us tend to overreach to make our presence note. We interrupt, we don’t listen to our interlocutors, we prepare to interject, say our opinion, or prepare to make a counter argument. While someone is talking, we are
checking our mobile phones, social media and so on. Most importantly when we interrupt, or
do something else, we don’t listen, we don’t learn, and we often don’t add any value. We are
just making noise. Plus, we treat our interlocutors disrespectfully and show a lack of emotional
intelligence. Some of the businesses that aim to fight this negative trend and build stronger
team culture and impact, force meetings participants to leave their phone and tech devices out
of the conference room. This leads to shorter meetings, more focused conversations and more growth prone engagements.
In my hometown in the Northern Italian region of Veneto, we learn dialect before we learn the
official national language. One of the first dialect expressions that we learn from our parents is
“prima de parlar tasi”, which literally translates into, “before speaking shut up”. From early
childhood in this part of Italy, humble listening is promoted by your mom and dad to embed
humility and respect in early childhood. Even in school you are discouraged from interrupting
and taught to listen quietly to your teachers. While I am a strong believer in open dialogue and
dynamic conversation as promoted in American colleges, my point here is that we should value listening as one of the quick steps to get ahead in life and succeed. Don’t miss out on one of the greatest learning and growth opportunities that listening provides. Focus on talking less and delivering more results. This is going to be the most visible way of your success.