Well that headline is a bit of a teaser but bear with me a bit. This morning I had a breakfast meeting with a couple of friends and we stumbled on the topic of “when it is best to keep you mouth shut.” You know, those times when you’d wished you’d kept quite and things may have worked out better.
The best leaders are also the best listeners. The best followers have the ability to listen, comprehend and act. We are all leaders and followers so we all need to know when to listen and when to engage the big hole below our nose. I’m sure we could add a thousand more to this list, but here is a start!
1. “Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” Proverbs 17:28 American King James Bible
2. “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open ones mouth and remove all doubt” - Mark Twain (attributed)
3. “Always keep your mouth closed when a meeting is going really well or deteriorating into Dante’s inferno” – unknown
4. “When you know you’re full of bull, keep your mouth shut” – Will Rogers
5. “Look at me, never rat on your friends and always keep your mouth shut” – Jimmy Conway character from “Goodfellas”
6. “If you keep your mouth shut, the flies won’t get in” – Spanish proverb
7. “Don’t take another mouthful before you have swallowed what is in your mouth” – African Proverb
8. “The closed mouth catches no flies” – 1742 B. Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac
9. “If A equals success, then the formula is A equals X plus Y and Z, with X being work, Y play, and Z keeping your mouth shut.” – Albert Einstein
10. “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” – Earnest Hemingway