God has taught me a few lessons about communication. I work in Marketing, so communication is my daily business. But aside from that, I always considered myself a good communicator. I felt the principle was simple. You form a thought, wrap the thought in nice words, and speak them out. But God taught me a higher level - the application of wisdom! Words have power, so the things we speak matter. I always thought that whatever comes to my mind, I also have a right, in fact, the obligation to say out loud, but I had to learn that even in jest, our words matter. "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29 NIV So, God showed me another important dimension of being a good communicator: Silence and Listening! There is a blessing that comes with knowing when to speak and when to hold your tongue and just listen.
What has helped to improve my communication is evaluating 4 things before I have serious conversations:
1. Who am I speaking to?
Many conversations I have played through in my head have ended after answering this question. The reason is simple, depending on the relationship you have with the person, some conversations are just not worth having. The way you would speak to your spouse is different from the way you would speak to your boss, for example. That means, some things that might be totally worth talking through with a friend would not be appropriate in a work setting. And that could even apply to people in the "same category." Your conversations with one friend might be completely different from how you would talk about certain issues with another.
2. What is the intention of the discussion?
Intent matters because if you just want to have a conversation for the sake of proving you are right or winning an argument, you might as well spend your time otherwise because this will not only be a conversation that wasted your time but also the time of the person you're speaking to.
3. What will the outcome/solution look like?
I'm very solution-oriented. I believe that it doesn't make sense to point out an issue or problem if there are no suggestions for resolution. If you've not thought about how you can rectify the situation, my motto is not to speak on it until you have at least one suggestion on how to make things better.
4. Am I speaking from a place of anger or love?
This is the golden standard right there! Getting to a place of controlling your emotions and waiting for the right time to have a conversation. Rather than lashing out in the heat of the moment, choosing to wait for the right time to talk about how you feel, you'll be amazed at the outcome. In fact, you'll even be wondering why you were so upset in the first place, once you think about everything rationally.
These steps have helped me navigate my conversations and be a better communicator overall. It has really redefined my approach to conversations as a whole. I've discovered the blessing in being silent sometimes instead of blurting out how I feel. Of course, there are moments when I want to say: "Hey, that hurt my feelings" and sometimes you simply have to address some things there and then. But overall being more mindful in my communication and conversations has been a complete game-changer.
The Bible says: "After all, even a fool may be thought wise and intelligent if he stays quiet and keeps his mouth shut." Proverbs 17:28 GNB Being a better communicator has helped me put foolish things aside and you can do the same. Strive to be better in your communication and you'll be blessed in a special way.