How Are Your Communication Skills?

Are you an articulate speaker or do you tend to ramble?

Are you an attentive listener or are you inclined to interrupt?

We are talking here about the art of conversation.

I recently attended a course on Counselling at my local College. My wife encouraged me to go, probably because I infuriated her by interrupting when I was supposed to be listening to her during a conversation. Learning to listen was the first thing on the Counselling course curriculum.

Listening, like speaking and writing, requires genuine interest and attention. We retain about 25% of what we hear. To improve this we must increase our retention and comprehension. Former USA President Lyndon Johnson had a sign on the wall of his Senate office which said, “When you’re talking you ain’t learning”.

The second most important thing when listening is non-verbal communication. It is estimated that about 50% of what is received and understood is by means of non-verbal communication. Observing the face of the speaker is a good method of picking up their feelings; it often brings emphasis to the spoken message. Expressions such pleasure, or pain, seriousness, or humour can usually be observed.

There are other non-verbal signals to watch out for when listening, such as lack of eye contact – which may indicate low self-esteem or that the speaker is not telling the truth. A non-symmetrical smile may well be a fake smile, and rubbing one eye may indicate that the speaker is having a problem inwardly in accepting something. If a speaker taps his/her feet it usually indicates a lack of confidence in what they are saying. And finally, the rubbing of finger and thumb together may mean that the speaker is not telling the whole story.

These signals can inform the listener as to what questions may be appropriate to ask, and what kind of answers to expect. They represent what I would call “emotional leakage”: The speaker unwittingly divulging information which he/she would rather keep to themselves. Good listeners indicate they are interested in what the speaker has to say. They also put the speaker at ease by being relaxed and non-confrontational.

When it’s your turn to speak, make sure you get your thinking straight before you say anything. Get to the point and say what you mean. Don’t waffle: make clear what you want, or what you want them to do. Brevity is a virtue, so use familiar words and speak plainly. Allow the real you come through in what you say. Remember, words that help people visualise a situation can be very useful aids in communication.

 

[I am indebted to an article in Success Magazine, “How to Speak Well and Listen Better”, 30 August 2017, by Nido Qubein]

 

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Shift gears from doing something in God's presence to simply being in God's presence. Lance Wallnau
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no one knows how bad they are until they have tried very hard to be good.. C S Lewis
If we are living daily by faith, we will be constantly over our head; Beyond our ability to do this our that. We should all be in that place in some area of our life. If we are not, we will be like an old wineskin; too rigid and inflexible to receive the Lord's new wine. Rick Joyner
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Jesus reveals the Father to us. He gives us peace and rest. He is not a hard taskmaster. David Forster
The God who creates everything, pursues you. Don't let anyone tell you you're are worth less than that. Louie Giglio
In the kingdom, physical obedience brings spiritual release. Bill Johnson
Don't be surprised if you pray for nearness to God and he sends a trial. Nearness always requires dependence. Desiringgod.org
Our corporate worship doesn't meet a need in God, it meets a need in us. Sam Storms
How you feel is not who you are. Feelings are great servants and terrible masters. Kris Vallotton
There is a lot that is good in your life. Don't take it for granted. Don't get so focused on the struggle that you mis the gift of today. Joel Osteen
The enemy commits identity theft when you believe you must earn what God freely gives. Alison Brown
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If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got. David Forster
A satisfying and exciting life organises around an identity focused on Jesus, not the church..  Graham Cooke
Satan cannot impose his will on anyone, he has to have our agreement.  Graham Cooke
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Real faith is not faith in an outcome (of a particular situation or circumstance), it's faith in a person. David Forster
Be in no doubt that God will redeem the losses and mistakes of your past life. David Forster
God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from himself, because there is simply no such thing. C S Lewis
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Inner peace is key to experiencing God's presence. Rest is a weapon against the enemy Graham Cooke
Fairy tales don't tell children that dragons exist. Children know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children that dragons can be killed. G K Chesterton
When you are at peace with God, you will be at peace with yourself and with other people. David Forster
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A little while ago I became old enough to start believing in fairy tales again. This means there are far better things ahead of me then what I have left behind. C S Lewis
Your unfinished destiny is your most potent argument with death. Graham Cooke
I am not focused on what I am not, I am focused on what he is for me. David Forster
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