Welcome to “How to Talk Like Jesus!” by Lucy Ann Moll, who’s finishing her DMin in Biblical Counseling. This article helps you communicate the truth in love with family, friends, and neighbors who “make” you want to scream or run like Forrest Gump.
This article appeared first here on Lucy’s website and is used with permission.
1. Listening Well
Listening well isn’t as easy as it sounds. It is more than hearing.
Haven’t you talked with a teen who looks at you and seems to listen but you just know he isn’t paying attention? How do you know whether he’s listened well? Try checking in with him by asking a super simple question: Could you tell me what I just said?
Here are 3 more essentials:
- Not interrupting.
- Paying close attention to what the other person is saying.
- Refrain from planning your response while the other person is talking.
He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him. Proverbs 18:13, NASB
Also, ask gentle questions to make sure you heard right!
A couple of examples:
“So what you’re saying is ____.” Fill in the blank with a short summary of what the speaker said.
“Could you explain a little more?”
Make it practical: In your next conversation, decide to not interrupt.
2. Use Well-Chosen Words
Careless words are worthless. Instead, choose your words well. Then improved communication helps with relationships at home, in the workplace, and at church.
But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. Matthew 12:36, NASB
The best chosen words build up, encourage, and show you care. Recall a time that someone encouraged you. What encouraging words did you hear? How did their encouragement help you?
Make it practical: Select a person to encourage with your words today. Plan what you’ll say.
3. Watch Your NonVerbal ‘Talk’!
Crazy but true, at least 75 percent of your communication is your tone of voice and body language, not your actual words. One study puts is at 93 percent!
The phrase “Please bring me a glass of water” could communicate kindness or anger, depending on whether your face is relaxed or scrunchy and your arms are crossed or you’re tapping your foot or raising your voice.
When you notice that someone’s words and nonverbals do not match up, ask a clarifying question. For instance, when your son says, “Mom, I cleaned my room, just like you asked,” but his voice sounds strangled and you see a sneer, you’ll probably wonder whether he’s lying or has a bad attitude.
Nonverbals to watch:
- Tone of voice
- Volume of voice
- Hand gestures
- Body posture
- Facial expressions
Make it practical: Ask a close friend or family member to watch your nonverbals for a few hours and jot them down, then share the observations with you. After reviewing the list, choose one or two to change, beginning today.
4. Take the Time to Talk
Says biblical counselor and author Stuart Scott, who wrote The Exemplary Husband:
We need to talk when we don’t want to and listen when we don’t want to. . . .Just because we are ill, tired, or not much or a talker, we are not released from the responsibility to work at good communication.
Make it practical: Name one way you can communicate better even when you’re busy. Choose a day and time to communicate the truth in love to someone you care about. Then follow through.