Catherine the Great, thank you!

Catherine the Great, thank you!

In her memoirs, Catherine the Great wrote that people at court, intent on furthering their interests, impressing others, and staying ahead of, or at least in, the action, did so by talking a lot. They posed and plotted and whispered and held forth, all the while distributing information, opinions, gossip, and aspirations. Catherine said she was best served by gathering information rather than by giving it out. She said she learned to encourage the flow of talk, from which she sifted the useful bits, and she did this by:


Catherine didn’t claim that this was a new strategy or one that she alone employed, simply that her interests were best realized by receiving information rather than by giving it away. As a happy aside, she seemed to have a lot of pals in court.

These things happened in 1740.

I mention this mainly to show that we at Language at Work don’t make this stuff up. Like many good communication tips, the power of listening has been known for some time.

It’s still great.


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