Some are talkers – to a fault. Others are listeners – to a fault. Every so often you might find yourself talking with someone who listens with great attentiveness. Every lull in the conversation is broken by a mere five-word question from the listener prompting you to talk even more. When you try the same five-word question on them, they answer with equal brevity and somehow return the speaking ball to your court.
The virtues of listening over speaking are obvious. A New Testament proverb sums it up in these words:
let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak
The wise, though, not only listen well, they also speak well. Listening makes your wise, but when confronted with folly or naivety, the wise listener will also speak.
On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found,
The lips of the righteous feed many,
The practical advice for the talker is to learn how to end a conversation. For the overly-zealous listener, the practical advice to talk more is to learn how to start a conversation – not a questioning conversion but a proper dialogue. Learn how to impart knowledge that you might have that your companion does not. Share a wise insight. Express a personal opinion or feeling. Be known not only for listening, but also for wisdom.