Two empty metal cans connected by a red string -- except the string is disconnected

Quotations about communication. People are social beings, and we need communication to live in relationship with each other. The challenge of communication is that we are also diverse individuals with different experiences, so what we are trying to communicate may not be exactly what the other person receives.

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To have much learning, to be skillful in handicraft, well-trained in discipline, and to be of good speech — this is the greatest blessing.

— Buddha

In describing today’s accelerating changes, the media fire blips of unrelated information at us. Experts bury us under mountains of narrowly specialized monographs. Popular forecasters present lists of unrelated trends, without any model to show us their interconnections or the forces likely to reverse them. As a result, change itself comes to be seen as anarchic, even lunatic.

— Alvin Toffler

There is an endless net of threads throughout the universe…
At every crossing of the threads there is an individual.
And every individual is a crystal bead.
And every crystal bead reflects
Not only the light from every other crystal in the net
But also every other reflection
Throughout the entire universe.

— Anne Adams, an adaptation of one of the oldest written creations of humanity: “The Net of Jewels, or Indra’s Net”

To truly love we must learn to mix various ingredients — care, affection, recognition, respect, commitment, and trust, as well as honest and open communication.

— bell hooks

Loneliness does not come from having no people around you, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important to you.

— Carl Jung

The fantastic advances in the field of electronic communication constitute a greater danger to the privacy of the individual.

— Earl Warren

The colossal misunderstanding of our time is the assumption that insight will work with people who are unmotivated to change. Communication does not depend on syntax, or eloquence, or rhetoric, or articulation but on the emotional context in which the message is being heard. People can only hear you when they are moving toward you, and they are not likely to when your words are pursuing them. Even the choices words lose their power when they are used to overpower. Attitudes are the real figures of speech.

— Edwin H. Friedman

While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.

— Francis of Assisi

Loneliness is never more cruel than when it is felt in close propinquity with someone who has ceased to communicate.

— Germaine Greer

Talking and eloquence are not the same: to speak and to speak well are two things. A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks.

— Heinrich Heine

Wisdom cannot be imparted. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to impart always sounds like foolishness to someone else … Knowledge can be communicated, but not wisdom. One can find it, live it, do wonders through it, but one cannot communicate and teach it.

— Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Knowledge can be communicated by not wisdom.

— Hermann Hesse

Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.

— Jack Kornfield, (an attempt to characterize the Buddha’s teachings)

One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture and, if possible, speak a few reasonable words.

— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The only reason to give a speech is to change the world.

— John F. Kennedy

Parents, choose your words wisely, carefully, thoughtfully. In the same way that violence begets violence and anger begets anger, kindness begets kindness and peace begets peace. Sow words of peace, words that build, words that show respect and belief and support.

— L.R. Knost, Whispers Through Time: Communication Through the Ages and Stages of Childhood

People change and forget to tell each other.

— Lillian Hellman, Toys in the Attic, 1960

I got well by talking. Death could not get a word in edgewise, grew discouraged, and traveled on.

— Louise Erdrich

[A]ll change, even very large and powerful change, begins when a few people start talking with one another about something they care about.

— Margaret J. Wheatley

If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.

— Moshe Dayan

There is no guarantee that starting a small conversation will lead to something larger. But the failure to take any step at all, no matter how small, comes with an ironclad guarantee that we will not be part of helping change happen.

— Parker J. Palmer

Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.

— Plato

The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.

— Rachel Naomi Remen

Conversation is a game of circles. In conversation we pluck up the termini which bound the common of silence on every side.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.

— Richard Lingard

Bad human communication leaves us less room to grow.

— Rowan D. Williams

Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates:
At the first gate, ask yourself, “Is it true?”
At the second gate ask, “Is it necessary?”
At the third gate ask, “Is it kind?”

— Rumi (attributed)

For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen. Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind’s greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn’t have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.

— Stephen Hawking

Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?

— Walt Whitman

Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.

— William Butler Yeats
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