How to say more by speaking less

You can say more by speaking less and listening to those around you.

4 min readMar 29, 2024

Of the several quotes that I have on the walls in my living room, arguably one of the most meaningful is this one; “The silent man is the best to listen to”, a quote I discovered entirely by accident when I was browsing through Displate, here it is for those interested:

I placed it in what I deemed the most appropriate place in my apartment next to my bar, far from the noise of the other quotes in front of my desk. A reminder when I go to pour myself a relaxing beverage of whiskey, rum or bourbon at the end of a busy day that it’s far more important to listen than it is to speak.

Japanese knowledge

I was reminded of this recently while watching the Shogun series on Disney Plus. The Japanese are the masters of saying much by saying very little at all, so that when they do speak, their words resonate and demand your attention. This skill is practised by the most successful individuals and leaders: CEOs, military leaders, sports personalities, politicians, entrepreneurs, etc.

Some are born with this ability

Some people are seemingly born with this knowledge, while others learn it over time. My brother is such an individual, and those of you who know him will be fully aware that he has this skill down to ‘T’. He is highly knowledgeable on many subjects, especially those he is passionate about. But he is typically the most silent man in any room he enters, choosing to listen to what is being said before deciding whether or not to lend his voice to the proceedings. So that when he does speak, he will say very little, but what he does say will echo louder than those from individuals who have performed their five-minute soliloquys and those who clearly enjoy the sound of their own voices. Only for him to say a handful of well-thought-out sentences that either support or silence their arguments permanently. Trust me, I have been on the receiving end of this a fair number of times and each time, I was left silenced because my brother showed me how much I didn’t know.

When he learnt to listen

My brother once told me that he learnt this skill at a young age from the husband of one of our relatives who, in his words, “is one of the least successful individuals he has ever encountered”, but still this person gave my brother one of the tools that has enabled his successes both socially and professionally. One day, this individual told him:

I don’t know much, but what I do know is that you have two ears and one mouth, so you should listen twice as much as you speak.”

Something that, as a youth, I foolishly ignored, putting it as a saying that came from an older person in a vain effort to get me to shut up…needless to say, it didn’t work because I clearly didn’t know how to listen, nor did I want to. Something my brother, with knowledge beyond his years, took on board and thought about practising this skill of listening more than he spoke.

Give yourself time to think

By speaking less, listening more and giving yourself time to think about what you’re going to say, by doing so your words become more powerful as they become more concise, impactful, and will leave a lasting impression on those who hear them. This is evident in one of the greatest speeches a politician has ever made, that being Winston Churchill’s “We shall fight them on the beaches” speech to the House of Commons on June 4th 1940. A speech that is right up there with one of the greatest speeches ever written in reality or fiction, a speech that echoes through history and inspired a nation to fight against the Nazi regime. I can highly recommend that you look it up if you haven’t already heard it.

Thank you for reading

It’s fair to say I could go on and on and list a whole litany of examples from reality and fiction to back up my point. But I won’t; otherwise, this blog would become a novel and not a short blog, even though it would be a fun project to fill my time with. Just remember that you can speak less, and by choosing your words carefully, you will, in fact, say more.




A Gentleman Writer by name A Gentleman who Writes by nature so come and explore the world through my eyes and words. Blogger with a unique view on the world.