Summary: Good communication is often proactive communication.

The Proactive Communicator

1. There are three kinds of people in the world’

-those who make things happen

-those who watch things happen

-those who say, "What happened?"

2. According to Webster, to be proactive is "…acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes."

3. People have long realized the importance of being proactive. Aesop told his famous fable of the grasshopper and the ant. While the grasshopper was obliviously enjoying the freedom of warm weather, the ant was storing up food for the cold winter.

4. When the weather changed, the grasshopper starved to death, while the ant easily survived through the winter.

5. So much of the Christian life is "acting in anticipation" of the future.

6. This concept should also affect our communication skills. Developing them early is ideal, because they will affect us greatly in the long run.

Main idea: Good communication is often proactive communication.

I. Proactive HONESTY

last week, we spoke about how we lie; I was hoping to address "fighting fair" this week, but I did not get through my sermon last week, so that will have to wait till next time; today, let’s look at proactive and honest communication.


1. asking for what you want

2. how making a request differs from demanding

3. Proverbs 12:14 reads, "From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him."


1. Offering information rather than withholding it

This column appeared in the Saturday, July 28, 1990, edition of the Nashville Banner:

Dear Ann Landers. Have you ever known a clam? Probably not. Well, I am married to one. This husband of mine cannot or will not carry on a conversation. I have tried hundreds of times to get him to talk to me. It is impossible. Here’s the way it goes:

Me: What do you think about the government’s plan to raise the price of postage stamps again?

The Clam: I have no idea.

Me: I read in the paper that there was a flood in the Sahara Desert.

The Clam: Oh, really?

His stock, all-purpose comments are: “Is that a fact?” “You can’t win for losin’.” “That’s the way the ball bounces.” “Well, ain’t that one for the books!” His responses are a boring assortment of worn-out cliches and platitudes.

Half the time he tunes me out totally. For example, last night I said, “I just got back from a trip on the space shuttle.” He replied, “That’s nice.”

Maybe it’s genetic—not on his side of the family, but mine. My mother also married a clam. I remember one day when I came home after school, she was yelling (and I do mean yelling) at my father, “You never talk to me! Something must happen at work that you could tell me about!” He replied, innocently, “Why are you hollering? What do you want me to say?” Then he walked into the next room and plugged his eyes into the TV for the rest of the evening.

When I asked my mother why she married him, she said, “Because he was the quiet type.” I now know what she meant, because I made the same mistake.…

from Nelson’s Complete Book Of Stories, Illustrations, & Quotes


* Turn with me to Proverbs 24:26

1. nonverbal: 58% (low estimate)

2. empathy

3. sincerity

4. warmth

5. swallowing our pride

6. giving a choice when there is no choice


1. Accurate words make for honesty; inaccurate words, dishonesty

2. He never takes out the trash vs. He rarely; She always complains about my workshop vs. she repeatedly complains

3. We needed to redecorate our home vs. We wanted

4. The way you phrase things influences how you think about them

"What you can afford" or "What seems reasonable to spend"

5. Alcoholism: an addiction, a predisposition, a predetermination, or a disease?

E. Using the XYZ formula

"When you put down my friends (X), it hurts me (Y) and makes me want to hurt you in return (Z)."

"When you joke about my ability to do household repairs (X), it makes me feel like I have failed as a man (Y), and then I feel like giving up trying (Z)."

Good communication is often proactive communication.

II. Proactive KINDNESS

A. Jesus was not always GENTLE, but that was His normal mode

B. TACT is crucial (Prv. 15:2 NASB)

"The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly."

C. Focus on the relationship, not BLAME or SUPERIORITY

D. The biggest communication killer: a threat to SELF-ESTEEM

E. We must also learn to be a good listener

I’ve preached sermons on listening, but if you are not a good listener, developing good communication skills will only help you so much…

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