In nearly three decades of watching and experiencing the mess that is human relations and/or communication, I have come to some strong conclusions.
Some of those conclusions can be expressed simply by “9 Keys to Listening” in a positive spectrum – and in “8 Ways to Miscommunicate” in a satirical kind of negative spectrum.
First we will consider the “9 Keys” that also work as an acronym; namely “C H I L D L I K E” – and the acronym is actually a lot closer to a Biblical principal than the silly reference to “Keys” (which is mostly there to poke at the modern “Christian” book industry – and as “click bate”)… and if you are not laughing yet, I’m sorry, you will probably never find me humorous. But I hope you will find this post helpful, at least as some food-for-thought, if nothing else.
Side NOTE: these “keys” are expected to primarily be used when someone brings a complaint against you or tries to voice something you might find unpleasant – but, as far as I’m concerned, that does not eliminate they’re applicability in the broader sphere of interacting with others.
The Nine Keys to Listening; or the Concept of Christian Childlikeness Considered in Regards to Communication.
1: Cease what you are doing. It is important, if at all possible, to have your attention complete and undivided – especially when the person trying to communicate something important to you is bringing up something you perceive as negative about/toward you personally.
2: Hold your tongue. In order to properly listen to anyone, you must remain silent until the person addressing you has fully verbalized their thought so that you do not miss anything they wish to say – and so you do not potentially jolt/confuse their train of thought before they finish.
3: Intently gaze. Again, it is important to give the person full attention when they bring something of weight (negative or positive, personal or not) to your attention – make eye contact, pay attention to body language, etc…
4: Listen carefully. And here we truly begin the repetition to truly get the point across. Listen to and truly attempt to understand every idea they present with equal sobriety.
5: Do NOT respond immediately. It is important to ask questions – especially if you are absolutely flabbergasted – but do NOT (especially if the issue is personal and/or “negative”) respond to the accusations/statements in your initial seeking of clarification.
6: Let them elaborate. Hopefully this is sinking in by now – it is so important to understand and/or grasp at least the person’s reasoning, even if you don’t think it or their conclusions are properly based in fact.
7: Internalize without verbalizing. Once you have a grasp of what the person is trying to communicate and why, ponder and consider the potential truth of their statements. Whether you initially think they are completely wrong or not – you must acknowledge your own sinfulness and thus consider the (high) potential of them being right and YOU being wrong.
8: Keep calm. Whether you initially come to the conclusion that they are wrong or right in what they say, you must practice self control, and continue the conversation in humility and continue to strive to understand what they mean and what they intend and where they are coming from.
9: Examine yourself. If the conversation cannot end with both parties being satisfied with the understood conclusion – take everything that was said and continue to prayerfully examine your own self with a healthy dose of humility and awareness of your own potential for selfish evil. And continue to attempt gracious and understanding communication with that person in the future…
…obviously, the situation in which I present this set of ideas as being used in, is not necessarily broad enough to include all of the potential caveats. But hopefully it is enough with the following list of Scriptures to help you at least seriously ponder the ideas I have proposed.
Proverbs 19:20, Leviticus 19:17, James 3:17, 1 Peter 3:15, Proverbs 15:1, 23, & 28, Colossians 4:6, Ephesians 4:29, etc…
And so, now that we’ve considered some keys to listening well, let us examine the 8 Ways to Miscommunicate.
1: Come to an immediate conclusion. Seriously, don’t even let them finish – the second they say something that sounds even slightly wrong tell them why it is!
2: Have impatience. Don’t tolerate pauses or statements that seem beyond the point they first brought up. They’re wasting your valuable time with their baseless accusations and negativity, after all.
3: Increase your volume. If they won’t stop their blabbering and listen to you then you need to make sure they can hear you.
4: Look for misbehavior. At this point – or better, before – you must correct them on everything they might have done wrong in addressing you; tone of voice, choice of words, timing, facial expressions, etc…
5: Disregard what is said. Obviously if they are saying something that is negative in any way it isn’t worth being heard, let alone understood.
6: Insist on being right. You are, after all, right about everything, aren’t you?
7: Shut down & Shut Out. This is a must – anyone who doesn’t practically worship you shouldn’t speak in your presence.
8: Hold a Grudge. Seriously, if this person had the gal to say something negative to/about you you should mention it to them every opportunity you get!
Again, I will stress that the “8 Ways” are satirical – and obviously should be the farthest thing from how we think about communication… let alone how we actually do it!
Proverbs 3:30, 15:1 & 28, 18:13, etc…