Improving Your Social Life:
Three Essential Communications Skills
[A young man once approached Socrates to ask if the philosopher would teach him the gift of oratory. His request was then followed by an incessant stream of words until, finally, Socrates placed his hand over the inquirer’s mouth and said, “Young man, I will have to charge you a double fee.”
When the fellow asked why, Socrates replied, “I will have to teach you two sciences. First, how to hold your tongue, and then, how to use it.”]
• I want to talk about that very subject this morning…How can we hold our tongue and how do we use it.
• The most important skill that anyone can learn is how to communicate effectively.
• Lack of communication and faulty communication has been the chief cause of marriage breakups, families being destroyed, and in the extreme case jail cells being occupied.
• An inability to communicate will eventually cause loneliness and depression. Those who can’t communicate well rarely have many friends.
• Let’s look closely this morning at some communication skills that will help us navigate the often tricky landscape of relationships.
1. Listen when someone is talking to you.
a. Listen to God
i. Through His Word
ii. Through The Holy Spirit
b. Listen to Others
[Dale Carnegie says that you can make more friends in two weeks by becoming a good listener than you can in two years trying to get other people interested in you.]
i. Look at me when I am talking to you.
[Sometimes we’re like the couple who were with some friends and the
subject of marriage counseling came up. Mary said, “Oh, Tom and I
will never need counseling. We have a great relationship. He was a
communications major in college and I majored in drama. He
communicates real well and I just act like I’m listening.”]
ii. Be a mirror—reflect back to the person what they are saying. (Gary Smalley calls Drive-through listening)
iii. Ask questions for clarification but don’t interrupt. (i.e, what do you mean by saying you’re outta here? Or I’m Fiddin-To.)
2. Let your tongue out of its cage only when necessary.
"Men have two ears, and but one tongue, that they should hear more than they speak." "The ears are always open, ever ready to receive instruction; but the tongue is surrounded with a double row of teeth, to hedge it in, and to keep it within proper bounds."
(from Barnes’ Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)]
The one who guards his mouth preserves his life;
The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
a. Thinketh before you speaketh.
2 Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few.
i. Shooting from the hip is not accurate.
ii. Know what you are going to say before you say it. Then ask yourself the question, Do I really want to say that?
b. If what you want to say will not contribute to the conversation, don’t say it.
c. If you are speaking to intentionally hurt, then don’t talk.