James Clear

James Clear quotes on communication

Author of the #1 NYT bestseller Atomic Habits. I write about building better habits.

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1

A phrase I heard recently and found useful: “I agree with the idea, but disagree with the tone.” Many ideas get dismissed because they are delivered in a cocky/hostile/dismissive tone—or because of who delivers them. This phrase encourages you to separate substance from style.

2

Lesson I'm slowly learning: Waiting to reply because you don't have an answer yet (or you don't want to share bad news) makes the situation worse. Silence frustrates and confuses people. It's better to say, "Hey, no update yet. Still working on it." Try to over-communicate.

3

Amazing social skills are a superpower. The ability to deliver bad news in a good way is a superpower. The ability to de-escalate a tense situation into a calm one is a superpower. The ability to transform a lose/win situation into a win/win situation is a superpower.

4

Books are more likely to change minds than conversations. There is too much happening internally during conversation: - Did that sound stupid? - What do they think of me? - Will I lose the friendship over this opinion? Books can let you chew on an idea without social risk.

5

When feedback is immediate, clear, and concrete, people learn quickly. When feedback is delayed, abstract, and opaque, people rarely learn.

6

The bill for miscommunication always comes due.

7

It is in your self-interest to be interested in others.

8

It’s remarkable how often the real problem is not what happened, but how it was communicated.

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