J11: How to Have a Perfect Conversation (or at Least a Half-Way Decent One)

What is the secret to good communication or great conversation?

Giving advice often makes me nervous.  What if my bad judgment brings about the downfall of another person?  What if they really know better than me?  And what really gives me the right to give advice?  Well for today, I’m going to put all those questions aside and give the world the key to good communication!  (Though if my advice ever somehow ruins your life, don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

  1. Treat the other person or people as important. One of the things that angers me the most is when someone won’t listen to me because he/she is convinced he/she knows better.  Such an attitude is extremely patronizing and only serves to make the other person feel belittled or rejected.  However, if you treat the other person as an equal, not only will you get along better but you may find they have something useful to contribute.
  2. Don’t lecture. Outside of a classroom, lectures only serve to make the other person feel angry and resentful; they don’t help or teach anyone.
  3. I know it sounds obvious, but it is important.  Just sitting down and listening to someone can make their day, or help them work through something difficult.  It’s one of the best ways to be a friend as well as an important aspect of communication.

I’m definitely not a perfect communicator, and I don’t manage to keep these rules all the time.  Even so, I believe these rules are helpful in conversation.  If you want a second opinion, the Bible summarizes my beliefs about communication in a much better way than I ever could: “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” James 1:19 (NIV)


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