Welcome to “How to Talk Like Jesus!” This special Wednesday Word series is timed for the holidays, when you spend time with some relatives and family friends who make you want to scream, pour another glass of wine, or run like Forrest Gump. “How to Talk Like Jesus!” will share the secret of godly communication just in time. Ready?
In case you first the first post in this series, click here.
Week 2: Four More Guidelines to Better Communication!
In the first post in the series, you found out 2 reasons why God thinks communication is important to successful living: 1) to please God more that anything else and 2) to be humble. The next 4 are listening well, well chosen words, nonverbals, and invest time to talk.
1. Tricks to Listening Well
Listening well isn’t as easy as it sounds. It is more than hearing.
Haven’t you talked with a teen who looks at you and seems to listen but you just know he isn’t paying attention? How do you know whether he’s listened well? Try checking in with him by asking a super simple question: Could you tell me what I just said?
Here are the first 3 tricks to listening well:
- Not interrupting.
- Paying close attention to what the other person is saying.
- Refrain from planning your response while the other person is talking.
He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him. Proverbs 18:13, NASB
This is one trick that makes the biggest difference: Ask gentle questions to make sure you heard right!
“So what you’re saying is ____.” Fill in the blank with a short summary of what the speaker said.
“Could you explain a little more?”
When you check whether you’ve listened well, your communication skills skyrocket. All of your relationships improve because you valued listening. . .just like Jesus!
Make it practical: In your next conversation, decide to not interrupt.
2. Use Well-Chosen Words
Careless words are worthless.
Choose your words well and your communication will not only improve so will your relationships at home, in the workplace, and at church.
But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. Matthew 12:36, NASB
The best chosen words build others up, they encourage, they comfort, and they show you care. Can you recall a time that someone encouraged you? What encouraging words did you hear? How did their encouragement help you?
Make it practical: Decide to build up someone with your words today.
3. Watch Your NonVerbals!
Crazy but true, at least 75 percent of your communication is your tone of voice and body language, not your actual words.
The phrase “Please bring me a glass of water” could communicate kindness or anger, depending on whether your face is relaxed or scrunchy and your arms are crossed or your tapping your foot or raising your voice.
When you notice that someone’s words and nonverbals do not match up, ask a followup question or make an observation. For instance, when your son says, “Mom, I cleaned my room, just like you asked,” but his voice sounds strangled and you see a sneer, you’ll probably wonder whether he’s lying or has a bad attitude.
Nonverbals to watch:
- Tone of voice
- Volume of voice
- Hand gestures
- Body posture
- Facial expressions
Make it practical: Ask a close friend or family member to watch your nonverbals for a few hours or a day and jot them down and share them with you. As you review the list, ask where you can make changes.
4. Take the Time to Communicate
“We need to talk when we don’t want to and listen when we don’t want to. . . .Just because we are ill, tired, or not much or a talker, we are not released from the responsibility to work at good communication.”
Make it practical: Name one way you can communicate better even when you’re busy.
In next week’s Wednesday Word, you get a story revealing the two fundamentals of great communication. Watch for it.
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