Talking But Not Communicating
“A Maine potato farmer and a Texas rancher were engaged in conversation at a political rally. The man from the Lone Star State asked, “How much land do you tend?”
“About a hundred acres.”
“I farm about six thousand myself.”
The man from Maine was not overly impressed, so the Texan continued, “There’s a much bigger ranch down near San Antone. To give you an idea of its size, the owner can start off in the morning in his car, and he ain’t barely crossed his place by noon.” “I had a car like that myself once” the man from Maine said.” (-1000)
While this is very funny, sometimes we interact with others in much the same way. We talk, the other person says something, we speak again. Who is listening? How is it that words are said and others (and ourselves) do not hear?
Most of us struggle to some degree with the skill of listening. Some are better at listening than others but all of us should grow in this area.
Hearing is more than our ears tingling with soundwaves. Hearing is more than “I need a hearing aid” or “I need to clean the wax out of my ears.” Hearing is when words and sounds are heard in the ear. Listening is the processing, and understanding of what is being said.
Some people are so preoccupied in mind they do not “hear.” Others are so distracted or defensive that they are not listening to what they are hearing or what is being said.
Here are several ideas to help become a better communicator.
- Stop Everything. Ecclesiastes 5:1 teaches: “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.”
Please notice how Solomon in His wisdom encouraged “hearing” by stopping other movements. Turning off the TV and radio, removing the cellphone from your face, and looking the person in the eye is a great way to focus. In conversation – focus!
- Value Words. In Matthew 13:17 Jesus says, “For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.”
Because the disciples had faith in Jesus, they could “hear” and “understand” His words. Many people in the years before Jesus had hoped to “Hear” and “Listen” to the Messiah, but were not able to. They died before He was born in the Flesh.
Jesus is instructing his disciples to cherish the words they are hearing. Our relationships would take on new meaning if we valued the words of those who are talking to us.
- Slow Down. James 1:19-20 directs us: “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”
Being quick to speak and fast to become angry does not help in communication. In fact, these are big hindrances to healthy communication. Be fast to say nothing, quick to listen and understand, and slow to react to what is being said to you. Each of us have witnessed times when a person speaks “off topic” answers in a wrong way, or even says things that are untrue and things they regret later because they did not slow down to understand first.
Determine today that with the grace of God you will be a better communicator to be able to listen, talk and have real communication take place.