Author’s note: this is part of a long blog series on our ability to communicate effectively and efficiently. Feel free to look back on previous blogs and explore previous material on communicating and how you can communicate better.
Part 2 – Approach
I closed the preceding blog with this Bible verse.
Proverbs 25:11 (ESV) “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.”
“Fitly spoken” is a great segue into my approach to communicate better. For communication to be “fitly spoken,” it must be conveyed, heard, and remembered. These are the three legs for my approach to communication.
Most people think of communicating as simply speaking or writing. But, to become a better communicator, we need to think of communications in terms of conveying a message. As we read in the previous blog, the words we use are the least important part of how we convey a message. The tone used and the attitude we take when communicating are of far more value than the words said or written.
Communication is a two-way street. It does us no good to correctly speak our message if the person receiving the message is not ready to accept it.
I do not necessarily mean they may not like the message, but there are occasions when the receiver is simply not in a position to accept the message. They may be pre-occupied with other messages or tasks. They may be consumed with opposing messages and the one delivered is not able to penetrate that line of thinking until other ideas have been processed. Or, they are just not mentally ready to receive the communication, whether good or bad. When we communicate, we need to observe the receiver and evaluate if the opportunity is right to deliver the message. Since the attitude of the receiver is mostly out of our control, often it is best to wait for a better time to communicate, especially if the message is important.
Finally, is the message memorable? It’s not that it is worthy of engraving in granite, but it is delivered in such a way that you will not have to repeat it again and again. The message needs to be delivered so that when the new knowledge is needed at a future point in time, the receiver of the message has retained it and is able to draw on the earlier bit of wisdom.
My approach to discussing the topic of communications is to not only see what the Bible says about the three parts of “fitly spoken” words, but to also look at varying circumstances where either the deliverer or receiver may be an unwilling participant thus making understanding the message particularly difficult.
At the conclusion, I will address how these three parts fit in what is increasingly become our normal mode of communication— email, tweet, text, etc. —these are what I call casual, yet non-face-to-face, communication.
To prepare for the future blogs on communications, I suggest you think about your current style. How do the three parts of “fitly spoken” words—conveyed, heard and remembered—fit into your methods of communicating?