Be Quick To Listen, Slow To Speak

In a productive workplace rejection should be viewed as the basis for learning and one of the critical factors leading to success. To be consistently successful you must understand the risk involved in any given situation and strive to minimize the chances of failure by seeking information from others both before and after deciding.

The biggest challenge you’ll face throughout your career is how to make present decisions with the greatest knowledge of their future success, organize to carry out these decisions, measure the results, and make improvements to ensure better outcomes. This is best accomplished by adhering to the following principles of high-performance:

  • Risk stimulates creative thinking and builds confidence.
  • Change is the natural pathway to continued success.
  • Critical thinking generates new ways to use old resources.
  • Failure is used as a learning tool when it occurs.
  • New learning opportunities and creative processes are the norm.

Rather than flow downward from the upper levels as it once did, information now streams in through a variety of open portals. The value of one tiny bit of information cannot be assessed until it has been pooled with seemingly disconnected pieces and examined openly.

Honest discussions become especially critical in situations where no one has the complete picture. Guided debates point out the need to explore the deeper meaning of a situation whenever the people involved don’t agree on what they hear, see, or believe. A primary cause of rejection.


The purpose of the React—Respond—Reflect model is to encourage more listening and less speaking during face-to-face communications. Participants should keep in mind that they will be more effective and expend less energy by being, “Quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” Those who seek first to understand and then to be understood will come away from this experience knowing how to do the right thing the right way for the right reason.

React: Suppress first impressions or impulses

The temptation to react when a thought enters your mind is natural, but it should be held in check to encourage the speaker to continue without interruption. Expressing your own feelings and thoughts prematurely shifts the focus away from the speaker and discourages rather than encourages a more thorough exploration of the issue. 

Respond: Answer positively or affirmatively

The appropriate time to respond will become obvious once the speaker has expressed what is foremost on his or her mind. A positive response at that time not only acknowledges that you have heard what has been said, but also encourages the speaker to respond more openly to your questions and concerns.

Reflect: Suggest alternatives or resolutions

The opportunity to reflect on alternative outcomes and explore optional solutions will eventually surface when critical judgment is suspended, and the dialogue is free flowing between all participants. At this point everyone can see the situation through multiple eyes.   

Working with others who see things differently can be stressful and anxiety producing. Toiling under such adversarial conditions is likely to develop an atmosphere of negativity and mistrust that drive people apart creating fertile ground for rejection.

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