This Maxim is a difficult one for many people. Our society conditions us to talk rather than listen, and even when we are not talking many times we are only hearing. Hearing rather than listening requires nothing of us, while listening is an active process requiring our participation in the art of conversation. Listening opens the doors of understanding another person, while simple hearing does not.
Listening does NOT mean we will always agree with what a person is saying, but it does mean that we will knowwhat the other is saying. That knowledge is the first step to creating true dialog between people. And a dialog is what creates the bridge to understanding.
But why, listen to everyone? Even those people we think of as our enemies will have things of value to say if we listen and apply ourselves to understanding what they are saying. In some cases this listening is all that is needed to take what could have been a negative situation and turn it into a positive one.
It is only after we have listened that we should speak, because then we are proceeding from knowledge and when we proceed from knowledge we then get the best results.