This post is part of our Sunday Series titled “Articles of Faith.”
We investigate leadership lessons from the Bible.
See the whole series here. Published only on Sundays.
I feel each of us would benefit not only ourselves, but all the others in our lives, if we seek to emulate Jesus Christ’s example of communication. This will help us be better leaders, co-workers, parents, citizens, and people.
Referring to Jesus, Mark records this testimony,
(Mark 12:37) “… And the common people heard him gladly.” (KJV)
They Heard Him Gladly
Why did they hear him gladly? Because He communicated so well! He tailored his words to get on their level. He did what He could to make sure everyone could understand what He was saying. If the Son of God believes this is important, how much more should we seek to follow in His sovereign steps when we are trying to get our message to others!
In all areas of our lives — whether it is in our marriage, home, extended family, workplace, or church family — we need to communicate well. Our relationships and results, as well as both our joy and theirs, often depend on it. Sometimes the smallest detail, if not communicated effectively, can become a mountain which then must be scaled to resolve the issue that arises.
Personal Communication Challenges
In my own life, I can see where I have not effectively communicated with my wife. The results are usually not good. Though I spoke with her on each of these occassions, I did not effectively communicate.
That is the key: “effectively!”
And of course, instructing children has its own challenges. It is not always an easy task. We can draw a map, give written instructions, or even rrovide an audio soundbite, yet they still do not do what we ask of them! Again, we must communicate effectively!
How to Prevent (Most) Explosions
In my life, even when it seems I have a mutual understanding with someone, I have found it is better to be double and triple-sure that we are on the same page. As tiresome as this is, it often the key to a successful ending. And many times small details can be overlooked if calrity and redundancy are not in the backs of our minds (and more often on our tongues.)
Consider the safety measures in Nuclear Power Plants, called redundancies. Many plants have installed three ways to shut off a valve. Having a primary shut-off, secondary-shut-off, and secondary backup is fairly common. The idea is to be sure the valve can be shut off completely, even if something goes wrong with the first one (or two).
So it is with sharing expectations, feelings, policies, desires, etc. We have every motivation (for our sake and theirs) to communicate our ideas responsibly, to ensure there is no unaddressed misunderstanding.
Think of how many divorces, church splits, and divided business partnerships there are each year. Many of them are due to a simple misunderstanding, grown far out of proportion.
Often the original misunderstanding, its escalation, and any of these painful results could have been avoided with effective (and responsible) communication.
Mis-communicating even the smallest issue can be like a small fuse attached to a powder keg.
Though the fuse is small, the results can be explosive!
Here are a Few Tips to Communicate Effectively:
- Be clear & concise.
- Watch your tone of voice.
- Make eye contact
- Use commonly understood words, appropriate to each person or audience.
- Be kind and do not assume ANYTHING!
- Watch for body language that would indicate the other person is confused.
- Sometimes it is best to ask, “Do you understand what I am talking about?”
The Bottom Line
We must give our all to effectively communicate with the people we cross paths with on any given day. Whether we are sharing God’s love with a sinner or a saint, we must be sure to do it effectively! If we are dealing in procedure and policy, we must likewise share it effectively with our colleagues.
Whatever we do, we must remember this: COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY!
It can save us all some grief and humble pie!
What experiences have you had, in which you or someone else sufferred because of a lack of effective communication? What successes have you had because you communicated well?
Pastor Andrew Schank is Church Planter with Macedonia World Baptist Missions, Inc.
He has a servant’s heart for missions and church planting
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Edited by Mike Weppler
Image Source: personadondada.com, dreamchildmethod.com, angelfire.com