You can’t do business without communicating. That means to get ahead you’ve got to continually work on your communication skills. It has been estimated that 75% of the problems at work are related to poor communication — with customers, clients and co-workers. Poor communication is also the most frequently mentioned problem in marriage counseling.
To Effectively Communicate, We Must Give Up Three Things:
I. Give up our assumptions. We get into trouble when we start assuming we understand the meaning of what people say to us. The truth is everything you hear goes through filters. Your filters are determined by your past experiences, your unique personality and your temperament. You may not be hearing what they are actually saying. Therefore, it is smart (and safe!) to ask for clarification. There are six possible messages every time you speak:
A. What you meant to say versus what you actually said
B. What they heard versus what they think they heard
C. What they say about something versus what you think they said about it. Proverbs 18:13 says, “It’s foolish to answer before listening.”
II. Give up our accusations. You will never get your point across by being cross! Anger and sarcasm only make people defensive… and that destroys communication. Here are four most common forms of accusation:
A. Exaggerating: making sweeping generalities. Statements like “You always” and “You never” are always untrue, and never helpful.
B. Labeling: derogatory name calling. Labeling, even when it’s true, never changes anyone. It only reinforces a negative behavior.
C. Playing Historian: bringing up past failures, mistakes, and broken promises.
D. Asking Negative Loaded Questions: ones that can’t really be answered, like, “Can’t you do anything right?” Ephesians 4:29 says, “Use only helpful words, the kind that build others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
III. Give up our apprehensions. Fear prevents honest communication. It causes us to conceal our true feelings, and fail to confront the real issues. The two most common apprehensions are: the fear of failure and of rejection. But when you face your fear and risk being honest — real communication can happen. Freedom is the result of openness. No matter what price we pay for relational freedom, it is worth the price. Ephesians 4:25 “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.”