Communicating: Listening and speaking
James 1:19 gives us some rules to follow in our communication. He says, “My dear brothers and sisters, always be willing to listen and slow to speak. Do not become angry easily.” (New Century Version)
How can one make this scripture a reality in our day-to-day relationships?
1.) In order to listen, speak and manage one’s anger effectively, one needs to start by selecting the right time and place to have a discussion. Some times that are not the best to start a discussion are: as one is leaving for work, when you are hungry, tired or preoccupied with a task. If a topic of discussion is started at these times, arrange to continue the discussion in 24 hours. This will make sure you do not avoid or ignore it.
2.) One person needs to be the listener and one the speaker. Researchers at the University of Denver have found the “listener” and “speaker” need clearly defined roles and rules.
A.) No interrupting. When one interrupts it indicates the listener is focusing more on a rebuttal than really listening to what is being shared.
B.) Paraphrase back what the speaker says. This shows you have captured the speaker’s viewpoint.
C.) Agree to be the speaker when your turn arrives. Each person has a perspective that needs to be expressed.
A. Speak for yourself. Eg…what I recall…I feel hurt…My perception of…
B. Be concise. Use only three or four sentences and pause. This allows the listener to digest what is being shared.
C. Use a calm voice. A quiet voice is easier to hear, even if you’re very upset.
By applying the James 1:19 principle, you can begin to remove barriers. You can be more effective in your conflict communication.
Rev. Carl Orphanides
Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church