Powerful Communication Begins Here

April 14, 2015

A compilation

Audio length: 10:34
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Modern psychology tells us that in order to mature to psychological manhood we need the understanding of someone important to us, who loves us. So, in one way, God's loving us means that He has taken the trouble to understand us by carefully listening to our human experience through a man like us—our Lord Jesus.

Those who practice listening find it to be one of the most powerful and influential factors in human relations. It is a magnetic and creative force. In fact, those who listen to us are the very ones toward whom we move. Listening to us creates us, unfolds and expands us. Ideas begin to grow and come to life within us. The same happens when we listen to others with an attentive, uncritical ear. Listening recharges us so that we never get tired of each other. We are re-created.

Listening is one way to better fulfill the whole law toward others as summed by Paul using the command, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”1 We may love our neighbor better by listening affectionately and attentively with those who talk with us. That is, with the attitude “tell me more.” By listening to others in order to understand them, we are doing God's work with a form of God's love. So, to identify ourselves with others is to listen, and to listen lovingly is to understand. To understand is to forgive, making us less ashamed to call others our brothers. And, according to our Lord, to forgive is to be forgiven.

Thus, let us be creative and listen as Jesus did; listen to God, to others, to ourselves.—Kelly Bennett2


Research shows that people speak to the person's needs in a conversation only three percent of the time. That means 97 percent of the time we're more occupied with our own feelings than the feelings of the person we're talking to.

[Communication] is not always easy. In fact, for some of us, listening is a matter of difficult discipline. I'm like that. I'm a natural talker. But I learned long ago to hold back and give the other person a chance to talk.

He or she is going to listen to me a lot better if I listen first. There's a saying I like: “People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.” That's a fact. And nothing expresses genuine caring as much as looking into a person's eyes and listening to his or her heart.—Dexter Yager3


Encouraging people in order to draw them out requires that a leader be in touch with people where they are.

But real communication is more than verbalization. The best definition I have read is offered by a friend of mine: “Real communication is feeling what the other person is feeling at the moment and accepting him for it.” Having a deep feeling for subordinates is a true key to building bridges in human relations. Without it, detachment sets in, affecting work and attitudes.

Here are some suggestions to help you in communication:

1. Stop talking! (You cannot listen if you are talking. Polonius [Hamlet]: “Give every man thine ear, but few thy voice.”)

2. Put the talker at ease. (Help him feel that he is free to talk.)

3. Show him that you want to listen. (Look and act interested. Do not read your mail while he talks. Listen to understand rather than to reply.)

4. Remove distractions. (Don't doodle, tap, or shuffle papers. Will it be quieter if you shut the door?)

5. Empathize with him. (Try to put yourself in his place so that you can see his point of view.)

6. Be patient. (Allow plenty of time. Do not interrupt.)

7. Hold your temper. (An angry man gets the wrong meaning from words.)

8. Go easy on argument and criticism. (This puts him on the defensive. He may clam up or get angry. Don't argue. Even if you win, you lose.)

9. Ask questions. (This encourages him and shows him that you are listening.)

10. Stop talking! (This is first and last, because all other commandments depend on it. You just can't do a good job of listening while you are talking.)

Nature gave man two ears but only one tongue, which is a gentle hint that he should listen more than he talks. The major benefits of good listening are (1) A good listener can make better decisions because he has better information; (2) a good listener saves time because he learns more within a given period of time; (3) listening helps the communicator determine how well his message is being received; (4) a good listener stimulates others to better speaking; (5) good listening decreases misunderstanding.—Ted W. Engstrom4


Half of being a good witness is being a good listener. In fact, that’s often what people want most: someone to listen to them and sympathize, someone to talk to and tell their troubles to. If they feel you understand them, it helps them to communicate better and more freely.

You need it too. To be an effective witness, you need to get on people’s level, to put yourself in their shoes, to empathize—and the only way you can do that is by listening carefully to their answers. As the conversation gets deeper and your questions weightier, it’s helpful to send up a silent prayer for the Lord to help you understand their hearts as well as their words. You can ask Him to help you see them as He does, and to show you how you can best reach them with His love.

You can encourage them by nodding in agreement, or guide the conversation by saying a few appropriate words from time to time, but it’s important to resist the urge to expound on what they’re saying or using it as an opportunity to make a point of your own. Be careful to not cut them off; let them get everything out. Listening is not only one of the most important parts of being a good witness, but it’s also one of the most difficult. It’s only natural to be eager to supply answers to people’s problems and questions when those answers are clear to you, but don’t do so prematurely. You may end up getting someone’s whole life story, but keep listening. This is another important part of showing them love.

Listening also has this important side effect: Once you’ve shown yourself to be a good listener, others are more likely to be more interested in and receptive to what you have to say when it’s your turn to talk. They’ll be less defensive and more open to new ideas and views, and they will be more understanding themselves.—Shannon Shayler and Keith Phillips5


Take a lesson from Jesus. When you take your problems to Him in prayer, does He just listen for a moment and then interrupt? Rarely. He’s always there, always available, and always ready to hear from you. He’s always willing to hear you out—to listen to your side of the story. He gets down on your level. He listens carefully to your words, but He also hears the muffled cries of your heart. You know He understands.

Jesus looks at your motives, not at whatever mistakes or messes you may have made. He’s never harsh or condemning. He always holds out mercy and hope and forgiveness. No matter how far you’ve strayed, He never stops loving you.

Listening—really listening—conveys love. It conveys not only your love, but also the Lord’s love for the person, which is unconditional, forever, and perfect in every way. Let others see Jesus in you by trying to be as loving a listener as He is, and you won’t have a hard time winning their hearts to Him.

Listening is a talent that can be cultivated. It begins with a sincere desire to understand others in order to better love and help them. Ask Jesus for the gift of empathy, and then ask Him to help you learn to put it to good use helping others and loving them into His heavenly kingdom.—Keith Phillips6

Published on Anchor April 2015. Read by Irene Quiti Vera.

1 Galatians 5:14.

2 Streams in the Desert, Volume 2 (Zondervan, 1977).

3 Dynamic People Skills (Internet Services Corporation, 1997).

4 The Making of a Christian Leader (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1978).

5 One Heart at a Time (Aurora Production, 2010).

6 Ibid.

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