Do you want to be a person skilled at communication?
Do you want to be able to bring peace into discussions instead of inflaming others around you?
The good news is, communication is a learned skill. Some people are blessed with personalities and dispositions that lend themselves to peacemaking. However, for the majority of us, learning to communicate well comes with time, experience, and connection with the Great Communicator Himself.
Schramm’s Model of Communication
As you can see from Schramm’s Model of Communication, it’s not as simple as “You tell me a message, and I understand it immediately, perfectly, exactly as you intended to share it.”
When I share a message with you, those words go on a trip through various filters and then are received in a particular way by you.
There’s skill in relating a concept, and there’s skill involved in receiving and interpreting it.
The point that so many miss is to hear the message as the speaker intended it, not as we’d want to hear it.
Good communication is worth pursuing, as it sets the tone for unity, helps those we love feel cherished and appreciated, and brings glory to God.
9 steps you can take NOW toward gaining GREAT Communication:
- Refuse to interrupt. Let the person finish. If the speaker is someone who tends to overtake conversations, you will need to step in at some point and gently ask if you could share some thoughts. Feel free to set the tone at the beginning of a discussion that helps everyone remember that interruption is not welcome.
- Repeat words (to encourage explanation) and rephrase what the speaker says. This way, they feel that you are really listening.
- Use phrases like, “It sounds like…” or “I think I hear you saying…” or “It seems like…”. Again, it will build satisfaction and trust in the speaker. They will sense that you are there to get the gist of their point, rather than just working on your next soliloquy.
- Affirm them and build them up verbally. This need not be fake – give genuine praise, and watch your listener bloom with newfound joy.
- Seek to understand, not be understood. You can’t control whether or not you are understood – never give that power to someone else. No one should have the power to make you happy. Happiness is a choice you alone have to make. Ironically, when you seek to understand someone else, you receive the joy of walking in love.
- Take a breather if conflict intensifies. Before getting into an unproductive argument, kindly excuse yourself for a brief getaway to the next room to collect your thoughts. Never continue out of an explosive, passionate anger. If you start to feel triggered (shutting down, angry, defensive, etc.), ask if the other person would pray for you. Also, pray for them. If you’re at a point where you struggle to pray for them, you need to have a brief separation so that you can be in control of your own emotions and words. Proverbs 16:32 says this: He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that rules (has control over) his spirit than he that takes a city. Did you catch that? Wow. God is saying that, if you are a person who does not fly off at the mouth whenever you’re angry, you’re better than someone who takes a whole city by force! It’s easier to affect destruction by sheer emotional determination than it is to bridle your tongue.
- Have an attitude of belief toward children. Give “the benefit of the doubt” when talking with a child. This one may seem out of place. But, as adults, we have a tendency not to understand the communication of children and want to pass it off for convenience’ sake, or because it may seem silly. But kids are trying to communicate subjects that may be hard for them to articulate. They also are in a developmental place of life where they need much encouragement, not shut down. Their spirits and hearts are tender.
- Apologize and forgive. Do this as often as necessary, as is appropriate. Keep your dignity, but be humble. Apology clears your heart from harboring offense. We make mistakes along the journey to maturity in Christ. Instead of expecting ourselves and others to be perfect, we walk in holy grace.
- 9. Pray to be a better communicator. Pray God’s Word. Actively claim it and decree it.