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Summary: Communication is essential to all of us, but it remains the center of most problems. Husbands and wives tend to fight because they fail to adequately communicate. Pastors and elders disagree over seemingly minor issues because they fail to effectively co

HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR COMMUNICATIONS

INTRODUCTION

Communication is essential to all of us, but it remains the center of most problems. Husbands and wives tend to fight because they fail to adequately communicate. Pastors and elders disagree over seemingly minor issues because they fail to effectively communicate. Mothers and daughters stop talking to one another due to strained communications. Countries go to war as various forms of negotiations break down.

Missionaries fail in their attempt to evangelize a people group because of their inability to communicate the gospel cross-culturally. Some people go as far as taking people to court for alleged slander or libelous communications.

Let us first look at the nature of communications to see how we might avert some of these problems.

Communication is multi-faceted. Many people, erroneously think that once they have spoken, written a letter, or made an announcement, they have successfully communicated - not so.

Most advertisers tell us that if they want their message to reach the point of media saturation where they are assured that their message has covered the vast majority of a T.V. listening audience, they must have their commercial played 17 times.

Even then not everyone will probably not have heard and understood the message. There has to be some key ingredients that allows us to adequately communicate the truths of the scripture to people.

THE NATURE OF COMMUNICATION

Definition - Communication is an impartation of living ideas, evoking mental and emotional responses. It involves hearing, understanding, encountering, listening, and responding as well as speaking and delivering. The ideal communication happens when the true meaning and intended aim of communication is accurately transmitted to the receivers.

Process - The process of communication involves encoding (putting the message into understandable language) your message; decoding (interpreting the message contextually) defining your perception of the message; associating your perception with known information; interpreting your message in the light of previous knowledge; formulating the message into ideas; verbalizing the message into words; transmitting the message; and getting feedback (Both verbally and nonverbally) from your message.

In all of this we are dependent on the Holy Spirit to make our communication clear, effective, loving, and truthful.

PRECONDITIONS OF COMMUNICATION

1. We must trust in the Lord and not just rely on our own insights for effective, Spirit-led communications.

2. We must know the truths of the scripture in order to communicate God’s truths and not man’s priorities.

3. We must love the people that we are communicating.

4. We must not communicate only for our own profit, interest, or advantage.

5. We must gain a rapport, respect, trust, and understanding with those to whom we are communicating.

6. We must listen to the people before they may be willing to listen to us.

7. We must appreciate the make-up, language, and culture of the people we are trying to communicate to.

8. We must be aware of our personal presuppositions toward the subject we are communicating. In addition we must adjust our message with our audiences’ assumptions in mind.

9. We must be aware of the culturally conditioned ways, ideas, beliefs, feelings, values, truths, and perspectives of the people we are communicating with.

10. Communication at its best is a two way street. Trying to communicate by preaching at the people without evaluating your feedback is minimally effective.

11. The more common interests you have with your audience the more effective will be your communications.

12. Communication is also a gift and an art. Paul, in I Cor. 12:4-11 incorporates communication in his list of gifts (v.10). We are dependent on being filled by the Holy Spirit in order for these gifts to be useful, effective, and in God’s will. Let us realize that some will be more gifted in certain areas of communication.

13. Certain cultures presuppose truthful communication is best done with and through mediators. Without the help of friends who will interpret, intercede, coach, counsel, and serve as truthful witnesses the communication will be less than trustworthy.

14. Effective communication is dependent on the Holy Spirit for His illumination, inspiration, and guidance.

15. The linguistic aspects of communication are dependent upon mutual understanding of language, symbols, imagery, words, and metaphors.

PSYCHOLOGICAL PRESUPPOSITIONS FOR GOOD COMMUNICATIONS

1. By gaining rapport (understanding, respect, trust, and empathy) with your audience you enhance your communications. Generally, when I spoke during my seven years as a youth Pastor, I began by singing with my guitar, told jokes, and demonstrated a desire to be like one of the youth. This generally gave me a sense of rapport with the youth who were then ready to hear what the scriptures had to say about their needs.

2. Consciously put away any feelings of superiority, biased, or prejudice against members of your audience. Otherwise, these subtle attitudes will shine through to your audience and create unnecessary barriers.

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