News Anchor Lester Holt on Talking and Listening

From The Poynter Report with Tom Jones:

“NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt gave the commencement address at Villanova University on Friday.

He told the audience, “Sometimes I wonder if a little less talking might serve us better in some circumstances. Asking smart questions. Searching for the truth. Learning to spot the red herrings are critically important. But I fear listening gets short shrift.

When I say listening, I’m speaking of more than just hearing the words … but hearing the meaning, and the perspective and experiences of others. Boy, that’s almost as scary as ‘I don’t know,’ because it may require you to hear what you may be afraid to hear. That piece that threatens to disrupt your carefully arranged world view. Resist that feeling. Find the courage. Learn to listen with your mouth closed.”

“All that said, we need your voice,” Holt continued. “We need your voice to speak for knowledge. We need your voice to speak for justice. And truth. We need your voice to speak for civility. But sometimes we need your reason. Sober thinking. Thoughts born of learning and real experience that elevate our problem solving.

And know that not everything requires an immediate response. Learn to pause. To be silent. To pick your moment based on knowledge and full understanding. Foster informed debate. We have never had more capable tools of communication at our disposal. So why is it so hard for us to communicate?”

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