Have you ever heard the old adage, "What we have here is a failure to communicate?" Effective communication is a TWO-way process and possibly the main reason for failure is the fact we tend to focus much more on what we want to say than listening and trying to understand the communication we are receiving. Most of us, if we are honest with ourselves, rarely acknowledge that "we" are, or could be, the reason the communication failed...we are quick to ascribe the problem to the other person.
While many of us try to season our speech and speak with love and grace, we often fail to communicate because of the way we say things. I have heard many times, "It is not what you said, but how you said it!" Sometimes we may feel that we can't win for losing and give up on trying to improve the way we communicate.
Becoming an effective communicator takes hard work, time and practice. We must make a conscious effort to control our speech....it won't just happen. The book of James tells us that the tongue is hard to tame (3:8) but that doesn't give us a "pass" on trying to do so. We must also realize that communication is one of the pillars of building and maintaining relationships with our brethren and those who are outside the church. We simply cannot afford to be ineffective communicators.
While doing research for an upcoming sermon, I saw the "Short Course in Human Relations" listed below. it provides a quick snapshot on effective ways to communicate and emphasizes that communication is most effective when it is centered on the receiver...not the sender.
- The six most important words: I admit that I was wrong.
- The five most important words: You did a great job.
- The four most important words: What do you think?
- The three most important words: Could you please...
- The two most important words: Thank you.
- The one most important words: We.
- The least important words: I.
Let's be sure we continually strive to improve our communication effectiveness and be able to provide an answer for the hope that is within us (1 Peter 3:15).