When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen. Ernest Hemingway
“What we got here is a failure to communicate.” Cool Hand Luke (Paul Newman)
The way we communicate with others and with ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives. Anthony J. Robbins
Effective communication is always a two way street. We often forget that this not only includes our intended message, but that message must be properly understood. If the receiver did not clearly understand what was intended by the sender, we have “failure to communicate”. Most of us have had many failures at communicating. It is a very important skill. So few of us have mastered the art of communication.
There are many reasons why we “fail to communicate”. A classic example can be seen in the character played by Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke. He is a chain-gang prisoner in a southern prison camp. The warden says; “what we got here is a failure to communicate” after one of Luke’s unsuccessful escapes. Each time, he is caught, beaten, and punished. As soon as possible, he escapes again; only to go through the same routine all over again. He was not getting the intended message. Who has not experienced the frustration of failing to communicate? What we said or thought we said failed to be an effective communication.
Most believe good communications consists of mostly talking. If so, we would be effective communicators. We mostly like to talk about ourselves, but are poor listeners. Being a good listener is a desirable trait to master. If we are perceived to be a good listener, we will have better relationships with family, friends, and others. To be a good communicator, listening is perhaps more important than talking. If we are not sincerely listening and focusing on what is being said, chances are we did not get the message intended by the other person. Both parties must try to relate to the other by not only speaking, but listening to each other with sincere empathy and intent. “Unselfishness” is a requirement in good communications, otherwise miss-communications is the likely result.
Another aspect of good communications is the inflection of the voice, the emotions of the moment, the body language being employed, eye contact, the environment as well as many other nuances. Everything imaginable is an influence and is important. We should seek to employ and understand all this in order to truly communicate.
Our relationships and interactions with all the people in our lives will greatly benefit as a result of improving our ability to really communicate. It is well worthy of our time and effort to master this skill.
Challenge: How many times have you failed to communicate? It is highly probable you failed to utilize the important tools of good communications. Chances are you already know this. Make a decision to improve your communication skills. Put your best effort into this. Listen intently. Speak clearly and with empathy. Be aware of non-verbal influences. Finally, it never hurts to ask the listener what is was that they understood you to say.
Wisdom: To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others. Anthony Robbins
A quick tempered man does foolish things. Proverbs 14:7
A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel. Proverbs 15:18
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
As we grow and mature, we should place more and more importance in our relationships with family, friends and those we interact with. Being able to communicate effectively is one of the most important things we can do. If we are secure within ourselves, we can reach out in a more caring and loving attitude. We will find more fulfillment in life. If we truly desire this, we are very limited unless we have God’s love flowing through us.
Prayer: Help me to allow your love to flow through me. Help me to be a better witness and example.