Do You Listen or Do You Wait To Talk?

One of my favorite films is Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 classic, Pulp Fiction. I’ve seen it a million times and will probably see it a million more. In my most recent viewing, I locked in on the following exchange between Uma Thurman’s character, Mia Wallace, and John Travolta’s character, Vincent Vega.

Upon meeting for the first time, Mia asks Vincent, “do you listen or do you wait to talk?”

Vincent thinks for a moment and then responds with, “I wait to talk but I’m trying to listen.”

Now ask yourself the same question and be as honest with yourself as Vincent was with Mia. After all, the first step in correcting a problem is to admit you have it in the first place.

Great leaders are great listeners. I know when I have a good manager because I truly feel that I’m being heard. I know when I have a bad manager because my words seem to enter through one ear and immediately travel out the other because he or she is too hung up on their own thoughts or ideas.

If you’re unwilling or unable to listen to your people, you will lose them. It’s alright to have your own agenda, but allow yourself to be open to hearing other thoughts or ideas that may change your mind or even enhance your own viewpoint.

There’s a lot of knowledge out there for the taking if you just take a moment to close your mouth, clear your mind, and listen. Just make sure you soak it up…don’t let it pass you by.

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  • Comments (25)
    • Mike
    • September 20th, 2011

    What did you say? Sorry, I didn’t catch that.

  1. Good post. It’s not only the work place, we’ve become a rude society in general. Ever watch intimate or group conversations, listen to TV talk shows, etc.? Everyone talks over the other person and why? Usually it’s a one up and a sort of, my opinion is more important than yours attitude – really? The art of listening and the art of engaging in conversation – it’s been lost. Such a shame ~

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