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49 inspirational quotes about tuning into people (and customers)

Being in tune with people is vital to your success in business – and in life.

I graduated from grade school over 100 years ago, but I can still remember everything about my 5th grade teacher. Her name, her smile, her elaborately decorated classroom – everything. While those were certainly a nice touch, that is not what won my heart.

She knew me.

She knew how many siblings I had, that I played an instrument, where I lived, and even my parents’ names. She greeted me with the warmest smile every time I entered her classroom, and most important, I knew without a doubt that I was her favorite student.

Over Mrs. Harmon’s tenure as a teacher, she had 1,000+ students, and I bet every single one of them would tell you the same thing – they were her favorite student. She knew the value of treating each of us like an individual instead of a class (group). She connected with us on a personal level and created an environment in which we loved to learn.

A teacher stands between two young students, helping one of them with work.

Mrs. Harmon definitely had a gift, but her ability to develop personal relationships with each student and treat them as a unique individual – her favorite individual – and not a group is not an impossible task. It is something we can and must do, especially in working with our clients and customers. It’s not just about going through the motions and saying all of the right things to appear personal. It truly requires a bit of care and nurturing and sometimes just a reminder that people are people and need fertile soil to grow.  

“Personal relationships are the fertile soil from which all advancement, all success, all achievement in real life grows.”

There is no more powerful reminder to be aware than inspiration from some of the greatest thought leaders. Below is a list of 49 quotes that inspire me to tune into people. Feel free to use these as reminders or inspiration on your wall, blog, or work screens – if you like what you see, share it!


Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing. — Rollo May

Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life. — Brian Tracy

It is always about the people. — David Glickman

Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time. — Henry Ford

Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community. — Anthony J. D’Angelo


Listen like every sentence matters; talk like every word counts. — Geoffrey Tumlin

One friend, one person who is truly understanding, who takes the trouble to listen to us as we consider a problem, can change our whole outlook on the world. — E. H. Mayo

Big egos have little ears. — Robert Schuller

Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you. Listen in such a way that others love to speak to you. — Unknown

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. — Stephen R. Covey

The quieter you become, the more you can hear. — Unknown

Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking. — Bernard M. Baruch

If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talk. — Robert Baden-Powell

The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is out attention… — Rachel Naomi Remen

There is as much wisdom in listening as there is in speaking–and that goes for all relationships, not just romantic ones. — Daniel Dae Kim

A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words. — Rachel Naomi Remen

The art of conversation lies in listening. — Malcolm Forbes

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said. — Peter Drucker

When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new. — Unknown

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. — Bryant H. McGill

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk. — Doug Larson

The best way to persuade people is with your ears – by listening to them. — Dean Rusk

One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. — Bryant H. McGill

When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen. — Ernest Hemingway

If speaking is silver, then listening is gold. — Turkish Proverb

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. — Winston Churchill

Sometimes the most influential thing we can do is listen. — Bog Burg

The first duty of love is to listen. — Paul Tillich

A leader must be a good listener. He must be willing to take counsel. He must show a genuine concern and love for those under his stewardship.” — James Faust

One of the greatest skills any leader can master is becoming comfortable with silence.” — David Grossman


Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection. — Daniel Goleman

We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects. — Herman Melville

If you think you’re too small to make a difference… spend a night with a mosquito. — African proverb

The business of business is relationships. The business of life is human connection. — Robin S. Sharma

Communication – the human connection – is the key to personal and career success. — Paul J. Meyer

Great communication begins with connection. — Oprah Winfrey


We need to find the courage to say no to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity. — Barbara de Angeli

Always be a first-rate version of yourself and not a second-rate version of someone else. — Judy Garland

Be yourself – not your idea of what you think somebody else’s idea of yourself should be. — Henry David Thoreau

Live authentically. Why would you continue to compromise something that’s beautiful to create something that is fake? — Steve Maraboli

I can be a better me than anyone can. — Diana Ross


Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much. — Helen Keller

Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results. — Andrew Carnegie

If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself. — Henry Ford

The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team. — Phil Jackson

It takes two flints to make a fire. — Louisa May Alcott


One of the things I’ve learned is to be receptive of feedback. — Ben Silbermann

Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react. — John Maxwell