7 Keys To Improving Your Communication Skills
by Olga Hermans
Good communication is a choice that you make; you have to engage your will to want it. It involves talking, listening, understanding and taking action. Communication breakdown is the number one problem in marriage. It’s the number one cause of separation and divorce. A lot of people don’t realize it, but they relate their problems to some other area. But if your communication is proper and you have an ability to share openly, you can solve financial problems, physical problems and children problems. Lack of communication can cause conflict.
Let’s have a look at these 7 keys and learn what to and what not do.
1. Make a decision to improve communication; it’s a choice.
Just as loving your mate is a decision, not an emotion or a feeling, so you must make a decision that you want to improve your communication skills.
2. Establish a quality time to share and communicate with your mate and family.
Indicate a time on your calendar for your mate and your children if you’re extremely busy. It’s more important than all the ball games, sporting events, recreational activities and all the other things that you will do.
God will deal with you that you need to make appointments with your spouse. As a husband and wife, you need to make plans concerning your children – their education, vacation – and the time that you will be alone with each other and them in a family setting. When you begin to pull away together, you will be able to eliminate a lot of frustrating situations by planning those things that were important.
It is important that you share some goals and dreams; what are the goals that you have for your family? Where will you be at the end of that particular year in your lives spiritually? Where do you want to be in five years from now?
It is important that your sharing time not to be a distressing time. In other words, is if you both work downtown and you just have come through the five o’clock rush hour and haven’t eaten yet, that’s no time to communicate on something you have different opinions about.
What’s the principle that businessmen use when they’re going to make a deal or talk with someone about a problem? They take them out to lunch or dinner and after they’ve eaten and are full and happy, they talk about the situation.
I think a lot of arguments are started when people are in stress situations. They try to resolve a problem in a few minutes when they only have a shot time, or when they’re not feeling right. It would be much better just to put it off until they is time to discuss it in a relaxing atmosphere.
TV is probably the greatest enemy of communication. When I was growing up, we used to bow down and worship the god of TV, offering the evening sacrifice of ten eyes for about three hours. After we had worshiped, then the god of television would impart to us his spirit and we would go to sleep with that spirit. Then the next day we would go out and walk in the light of that which we had received! How many people follow this pattern today?
3. Take an interest in what the other person is doing.
The best communicators are the ones who show an interest in the other person. The opposite of this is selfishness. It’s not hard to listen to someone if you take an active interest in what they are doing.
Jesus came to our level to lift us to His level. The same principle applies in communication. When you come to the level where people are to communicate with them, you will be able to move into levels where they can communicate with you and receive what you’re saying.
4. Be willing to admit that you’ve been wrong.
What’s the root problem of not being able to admit that you’ve been wrong? Pride. Here is an example: “It couldn’t possibly have been my fault! It was my fault, it was only two percent my fault and 98 percent yours!”
When there is unwillingness to admit wrong, then there is going to be a communication breakdown. But when there is a willingness to say, “I made a mistake, I misunderstood, I misinterpreted, I sad the wrong thing, I had the wrong attitude,” healing is released.
James 4:6 says, …”God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” In family and marriage relationships, when someone refuses to admit wrong, you naturally resists them. There is a wall that is automatically built
5. Be willing to accept constructive criticism.
Defensiveness will stop the flow of communication.
6. Avoid cutting and belittling remarks.
I’ve heard it said, “laughter at the expense of another person is the lowest form of humor.” The truth is, it’s really not humor at all. Husbands and wives destroy their marriages from the inside out when they make “cute remarks” that cut or belittle their mate or children. Cute little remarks which cut another person fit into the category of corrupt communication and it grieves the Holy Spirit.
7. Be sure that outside obligations aren’t robbing you of time with your mate and family.
Civic and community involvements can come between you and your family. Choose activities that can involve each family member.
Sometimes parents will sacrifice their time together to have time with the children, but you not only need to have time individually with the children, you need time alone with one another as husband and wife.
Communication specialists indicate that when you talk with another person, there are actually six messages that can come through a result of your communication:
(1) What you mean to say.
(2) What you actually say.
(3) What the other person heard you say.
(4) What the other person thinks they heard you say.
(5) What the other person says about what you said.
(6) What the other person said about what you said.
Communication is so important. It’s the bridge that brings different people together. Frustration usually ends where communication begins.