Those Who Talk the Most Learn the Most
Ken Blanchard jolted my thinking when he said, “Those who talk the most learn the most.” (Spoken at the World LEADERS Group.)
I immediately thought you must listen in order to learn.
It didn’t take long for me to catch up with Ken’s statement. You need to listen, but you also need to talk.
We learn when we listen and we learn when we talk.
Talking is learning.
Talking to learn:
- Help people talk by listening as they explore ideas and options.
- Talk to people who allow you to take things back. Allow others to take things back, if you expect them to speak boldly.
- Say, “I hear you saying….” Restate.
- Tell others what you’re learning. In the telling, you’ll learn more.
- Tell others what you think you know. In the telling, you’ll realize you don’t know as much as you think.
- Preparing to talk is learning. Give young leaders opportunity to talk, both in private and public.
Talking as development:
The great goal of leadership is the birth and growth of new leaders. Develop new leaders by encouraging them to talk.
Coaching includes helping others learn through talking.
Don’t be quick to correct or instruct. Avoid jumping to conclusions. Allow teammates to learn while they talk.
Be an audience for words. Words in your head sound different when spoken. What seems right may end up wrong. What feels silly might be wise.
Helping people talk is one way to advance their development.
When might talking hinder learning?
How might leaders use talking to enhance learning?
Thanks for this post, Dan. I’m glad you clarified about talking vs listening, and how learning is impacted by both. It’s not just any talking, but focused talking that aids in the learning, just as focused listening does. Much appreciated.
Thanks Diane. I’ve been mulling over talking that isn’t useful. I better stick with one lesson at a time. Lets pay attention to talking to learn. Perhaps it’s as simple as talking about what we are learning.
I think that you learn when you talk, when you listen but not neccesarily those who talk the most learn the most. Respectfully Julieta
I am part of a long and distinguished lineage of people who talk too much. Of course, there’s talking a lot and talking too quickly, and that is where you get in trouble, foot in mouth as they say. Thanks for the post, reflecting on talking and even my “foot in mouth” moments, I realize that is a very important part of the learning process. You may think you have a brilliant idea but as soon as you go and say it out loud, you realize it’s shortcomings if there are any. You can think much quicker than you can speak, so I think speaking helps put your ideas into more understandable terms.
Thanks Chris. Great insights about talking too fast and too much.
I think people who talk through their ideas need to find people who understand and respect their process. You need people who “let you off the hook,” as you learn.
Talking, reviewing, explaining, etc.,all provide us with additional ways to experience what we have learned. I recently had two friends describe what they had learned from a course that I had taken about three months before they took it. What a gift- it expanded my learning and cleared up some points I was unsure of. We are now doing a study group to take it further.
It’s ALWAYS about both listening AND talking… What’s important is to REALLY listen and to then CONSTRUCTIVELY talk – advancing the discypussuin!!!
Thanks John. As a teacher, I bet you know the value of talking as a part of the learning process.
Absolutely!!! A favorite Albert Einstein quote: “You don’t understand anything well enough if you can’t explain it simply.” Explaining both helps you learn via conversational feedback and provides assessment of the understanding!!!
Conversations. One at a time.
As I read the headline I was about to finish the sentence…I was wrong. It reminded me of a question a mentor asked.
Q: “What is the opposite of listening?”
A: “Waiting to talk.”
Listening is a skill that I am working on. Most people hear, few really listen.
Thanks Brad. Perhaps we learn when we listen to ourselves talk?
In the UK if you say “I hear what you are saying” it really means “… but I don’t agree with you”
Thanks Marin. That’s good to know. Cheers
Good thought starter this AM, thanks
Hope all is well
Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE smartphone
Thanks Mark. Great hearing from you. Yes, Ken got me thinking. I’m glad to pass it along.
Good thought, Dan. In fact, I’m just back from a couple of calls and meetings where a majority will just keep silent and will not actively try to contribute. They just patiently wait for the meeting to finish. Talking to learn is a great perspective that I’m going to share with then and hopeful to see at least some difference in near future.
Thanks Dan, this was an excellent post. As a manager I perform “walk abouts” with our operations crews. The purpose is three fold. I get to ask general and specific questions of the operators and I listen for their explanations on equipment, proceedures, operations, and general knowldge. I with-hold from commenting or lecturing during the walk about. While listening, I learn 3 things… 1. I learn if the operator understands the process and equipment (if not, I provide for more training), 2. I learn the operator’s language on how they relate to the process and equipment, 3. I learn more about the ‘person’ who works with me. After the walk about I follow up with a written summary and always provide homework in anticipation of the next walk about.
I have heard this anonymous quote in relation to our K-12 classrooms as well- “If the person who talks the most, learns the most, who is doing the most learning in your classroom?” This is a challenge in many classrooms, where teachers have been revered for being the Sage on the Stage. But as we help them move into a role of facilitator, or Guide on the Side, we must remember the value of dialogue- both speaking and listening contribute to greater understanding.