Communication is not just getting things said. Communication is getting things heard and heeded.
The 5 general principles for effective communication are:
1) CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME
Good or right timing is essential for success in all aspects of life. It is not just how wonderful we consider our words or deeds in our own estimation, but when to initiate things or pursue our intended objective must be a matter of primary concern to us. For example, we must not communicate sensitive and very important matters to someone when the listener is tired, stressed, angry, frustrated, confused, worried, depressed, grieving, busy, ill etc. We should allow the person to be in the right frame of mind and heart to receive the important information.
Parents who do not observe the appropriate timing to correct and discipline their children, or teachers and bosses who choose bad timing to deal with issues regarding their students or employees, are sure to experience more failures than any successes in motivating or training those they are leading.
The natural tendency of every man is to “want to say or do it quickly to get MY results rapidly”. In the frenzy and overzealous mode or process, we discard every caution, do not take the feelings or welfare of the other fellow into account, allow our emotions to carry us forward, and speak at the wrong time.
Let us work hard on ourselves to exercise self-control in order to be able to wisely, humbly, decisively, and strategically speak at the right time, if what we intend to say, actually needs to be said at all!
2) CHOOSE THE RIGHT PLACE
We may choose the best time to say something important to someone, but the place may not be right for such communication, especially if it involves some form of confrontation, or contains bad news.
Do your best to wisely avoid “washing any dirty linen in the street”, or say something that could come back to hurt you. Some courting persons or husbands and wives even go to the extent of subjecting their mates to serious verbal abuses and thunderbolts from their lips before children, in-laws, visitors, and respectable friends.
Some bosses do it to employees, pastors do it to congregation members (or vice versa), teachers do it to students (or vice versa), trusted friends do it before respectable persons, and parents do it to children before their peers. Such unwise communication can cause one or more parties to experience deep shame or guilt that could mortally damage relationships and leave indelible scars of discord and pain for ages.
It is very inappropriate, for example, for a father and a mother to argue over a sensitive issue of money or sexual and romantic matters in front of their children. If they have problems of inability to completely trust each other, they should do their best to wisely sort themselves out in their bedroom privately, without expressing or arguing over trust to the hearing of the children or in-laws, or right in front of them.
It is generally not right and edifying to rebuke your husband or wife in front of your children, visitors, or friends, unless it is a very friendly one that has no damaging consequences, which will usually come out in ordinary conversation and friendly interactions with others. Children can get caught up in the crossfire of unhealthy parental argument and become gravely bruised or wounded in the process.
The same thing applies to people who are courting. Apart from disgracing, provoking, and aggravating your fiancée or spouse, you also cause him or her to become degraded in the minds and hearts of the children.
If a gentleman and a lady are courting, and they sow any seeds or feelings of shame, hurt , disrespect, and disgrace before family members and outsiders, these can germinate and establish rooted plants that can negatively impact the marriage relationship for a long time.
Normally, choosing the wrong place for putting things across to people is most likely to go along with the wrong timing as well. As much as you should not condone evil acts and protect evildoers in their wrongdoing, you must also be concerned about protecting the integrity, reputation, and the dignity of people, especially if they have offended you or offended someone you love.
Do not wrongly correct wrongdoing by foolishly destroying the wrongdoer with your wrong communication.
This is one of the primary factors that produce or promote unrepentant, callous, apathetic, and wicked fiancees, spouses, children, parents, family members, mates, colleagues, neighbors, and leaders in our society.
You will ultimately create serious consequences that might be very difficult or impossible to rectify after the person has repented. Sometimes we erroneously think that by rebuking or confronting people before others we can cause them to listen to us better, and make them change their ways to please us. Invariably, we end up creating enemies instead of friends for ourselves, and cause a bad situation to become worse.
3) CHOOSE THE RIGHT WORDS
When we are told that words are creative, we better take it serious. Remember that God created things with His words. Usually when we are irritated, annoyed, or angry, self-control can suddenly get lost, and wisdom quickly flies through the window. The stage is then set for careless, nonsensical, and egoistic utterances. Unrestrained rebukes and abrasive words to exude freely and irresponsibly from unsanctified and unguarded lips.
It is a vital necessity for you to take time and choose your words carefully when you want to communicate anything sensitive, classified, very personal, and very important to anyone. In most cases you would have to rehearse your words, and think through the meaning, implications, and effects, by being empathetic (placing yourself in the position of the receiver).
Step back and critically examine the situation and all the associated conditions. This will help you to act and speak more wisely and thoughtfully, rather than being merely emotional, rash, thoughtless, and devoid of love. Apart from your own interests, honestly and objectively focus on the interests of the other fellow or people you are going to deal with as well.
Pray also and ask God to put the best ideas into your mind and heart, and the right words mouth.
4) CHOOSE THE RIGHT ATTITUDE
Attitude gives color to action. Attitudes will always be forerunners to our actions. You attitude implies your behavior and body language, and is the result of your thoughts, acquired habits, and inner character. No matter your choice of best timing, place, and words, your inappropriate attitude can taint your communication, make it ineffective, and cause your efforts to be wasted.
Facial expressions and body movements play significant roles in carrying impressions that will intensely color the meaning or importance of your words and actions. Special sounds from your throat or mouth, and your silence, also give impressions. You should make every effort to let the right body language accompany your communication for full impact. In fact, body language alone can communicate definite information in itself.
Walking away silently as I speak passionately with you, could carry a strong message to me of defiance or I-don’t-care-ism on your part.
All of us must diligently work on our attitudes! When you hear people negatively characterizing someone as “impossible”, “careless”, “arrogant”, “lustful”, “lazy”, “stubborn”, “cynical”, “condescending”, or “difficult” etc., it is actually a reference to the person’s negative attitude (character) and lack of understanding, humility, or cooperation when dealing with him or her, and the resulting hindrances that hamper the smooth running of things with the person.
Dealing with your attitude should therefore focus on dealing with your character. You should therefore shift from what you see on the surface as “physical behavior” to deeper inner “mental, emotional, and spiritual qualities” that you do not see.
In my opinion, the Spirit of God has to be brought into your life to be in charge of your soul (mind, heart, and will), in order to get your mind and heart completely changed and be able to develop new attitudes that are pure, lovely, sincere, attractive, edifying, and godly.
It is important to always examine the nature and background of the person you are dealing with (age, gender, position, weaknesses, strengths, relationship with the one, the person’s expectations, your obligations, his or her past experiences etc.) in order to choose your attitude carefully. Then ensure that you are considerate, honest, loving, kind, and gentle in your communication approach to the person.
5) CHOOSE THE RIGHT TONE OF VOICE
We often raise our voices to emphasize our strong points and serious view on some issues, or express our infuriation. It is usually a natural reaction from a frustrated, angry, agitated, and excited human being.
There are those who believe that a loud voice is always the equivalent of the demonstration of power, supremacy, authority, and dominion. Yes, a number of people intimidate others by their deep or loud voice. Young people and children are often frightened by the loudness of their parents, guardians, elders, and teachers. Bosses and leaders scare their employees and subordinates with their loud and aggressive tones. The poor are intimidated by the commanding and assertive tones of the rich. A number of women are intimidated by the shouts and violent tones of their domineering husbands, or vice versa.
I wish to point out, however, that the more we shout when communicating, the more we cause our blood pressure to shoot up, and the greater our chances of contracting hypertension!
We do not dispute the fact that we need to utter stern rebukes sometimes, or speak sternly and firmly when important regulations are being enforced, or when emphasizing some important points. But we can always make our good point in a moderate, sweet, loving, and effective way, with a gentle tone of voice that encourages the mind and heart of the receiver to cooperate and digest things properly.
The more sensitive and emotional a situation or message is, then the more gentle and sweet our voices must be, as we tread cautiously and wisely over the complex communication terrain involving tender human hearts. If a wife or husband yells, criticizes, and scolds the mate abrasively during love making or meal time over any lapses or dislikes, the romantic desire for intimacy or the appetite for food will quickly wane or simply vanish to their own chagrin and misery!
Please, learn to be an effective communicator whose spoken and written words have tremendous positive impact, for the production of abundant fruit and success in our homes, families, communities, and nation.
Patiently, wisely, and humbly seek to let your communication become attractive in a way that will cause your words to sink into the spirits of listening and attentive ears.
Always remember that still waters run deep!How to become an effective communicator Click To Tweet
Written By Dr. Samuel Kisseadoo (Professor of Biology, Ordained Licensed Minister, International Evangelist, Bible Teacher. Relationships, Marriage, and Family Counselor), Virginia, USA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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