Communication is a very delicate tool. It needs to be allowed to flow freely, and it needs to be nurtured more than any plant in an average garden.
Communication, used correctly, can solve almost any problem. But, like Conan The Barbarian’s double edged sword, communication has another side. If it is not used correctly, it can agravate any situation, or even create problems where there weren’t any.
So, how do we learn the secrets to communicating effectively? Well, they are profound, and yet so simple that I hesitate to put them in writing.
1. Keep your promises, to the best of your ability.
2. Never speak something you know to be false, untrue, or deliberately hurtful.
3. Keep the other person in mind, and never say anything to them that they would not be able to accept as real, true, or helpful.
4. If you are negotiating with someone, enter the negotiations with as much knowledge as possible about what the other side needs – and try to find a way to give all of it to them without hurting your side. Doing this will make it far easier for them to give you what you want in return.
5. Make every effort to speak clearly, and use words that correctly and easily convey the meaning you intend at a level that can be easily understood by your audience.
6. Keep (whatever spark of divinity you believe in) at the forefront of your mind. Ask yourself at every moment if your actions would make that being proud of your actions, or ashamed by them. Take those actions that would promote others to consider you to be a true representative of that divinity.
To that last point, I would speak further. I read a joke several years ago that drives home a point. A highway patrolman was following a car through city traffic. The driver was frequently honking her car horn, sticking her hand out of her window to make rude gestures, screaming foul language at other drivers, and more. After observing several minutes of this, he added observations of the vehicle itself. It was a family-sized car, with a few bumper stickers on it. One bumper sticker read “Jesus is my co-pilot” while another read “Proud member of . . . . Church” Putting two-and-two together, the patrolman flipped on his lights, and pulled her over. He handcuffed her, took her to a jail, and then several hours later he “became” very appologetic as he released her. He explained to her his observations, and what he had seen her doing, and how it was a natural mistake to assume that the car was stolen, as a real Christian surely wouldn’t behave like that!
So, as you go through your day, keep yourself alert to how you behave. Keep this thought in mind: Would a complete stranger convert to your faith based on the example you set for them?