Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 172) – Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Gandhi (1869 - 1948)

Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948)

“Proneness to exaggerate, to suppress or modify the truth, wittingly or unwittingly, is a natural weakness of man, and silence is necessary in order to surmount it. A man of few words will rarely be thoughtless in his speech; he will measure every word. We find so many people impatient to talk. There is no chairman of a meeting who is not pestered with notes for permission to speak. And whenever the permission is given the speaker generally exceeds the time-limit, asks for more time, and keeps on talking without permission. All this talking can hardly be said to be of any benefit to the world. It is so much waste of time. My shyness has been in reality my shield and buckler. It has allowed me to grow. It has helped me in my discernment of truth.”

— Mahatma Gandhi


About John Zimmer

International speaker, presentation skills expert, lawyer, improv performer
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4 Responses to Quotes for Public Speakers (No. 172) – Mahatma Gandhi

  1. Great quote John. Thanks for sharing.

  2. The issue of talking a lot or little resonates with me.

    Living in Australia and working for a global company, I work with people by phone a lot. So meetings are a bit harder than in person. I try to wait for people to stop speaking, as sometimes they overlap as it is – and I don’t want to make that situation even worse. But sometimes it comes down to the lesser of 2 evils: Either butt in, or butt out and don’t get heard!

    My latest post’s about the benefits of pausing, and most people could do with taking on Gandhi’s approach in that respect – even in meetings. To be collaborative, we all need to let others speak!

    • John Zimmer says:

      Thanks, Craig. Great feedback and I very much enjoyed your post on the benefits of pausing. Readers here should check it out.



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