Enhancing Communication Skills

Mark Virkler's picture

How are your communication skills? Have you taken a course on how to be an excellent communicator? Have you journaled, asking the Lord specific questions about how you can improve your communication style?

According to the Carnegie Institute, 85% of financial success is communication skills. My guess is this 85% success rate extends to every area of life, not just financial success. We need excellent communication skills with our spouse, our family members, at church, at the workplace, and in social gatherings. What are the skills that God would have you develop to become a better communicator? The two-way journaling questions below will allow God the opportunity to instruct you concerning enhanced communication skills.

What are the ground rules for interacting with people?  

  1. Since God’s Spirit is working in all people, drawing them to the Truth, I will pray for God’s Spirit to move in their hearts as we talk (Jn. 16:8).
  2. If I approach people with honor, gratefulness, and joy, their hearts open to me (Rom. 12:10).
  3. If I approach people with a critical attitude, they feel threatened, go into a self-protective mode, withdraw from me, and may even attack me (Rom. 14:13).
  4. My trust is in God, realizing that sometimes a friend will betray me, as Judas did Jesus (Ps. 118:8; Matt. 10:4).
  5. Self-preservation comes first in almost all cases, so if people feel threatened in any way, they will lash out and/or withdraw and put up a fortress between me and them.
  6. We are drawn to what we enjoy. We open up when we feel safe. I will use laughter and joy as I share life-giving principles from the Scriptures using stories that others can relate to. 
  7. I will not cut myself off from people because of their imperfections but will minister God’s grace to them.

I follow Jesus' pattern of circles of intimacy

  • Since we can’t relate intimately to everyone, what can I learn from the way Jesus structured His relationships? Jesus’ close friends were arranged in circles around Him and were all related to His ministry call (Isa. 61:1-3). John was the closest and then Peter, James, and John in a circle of three. This was followed by a circle of the 12 disciples, then the group of 70 (Lk. 10). Finally, Jesus related to the multitudes that came to receive ministry. Wisdom would recommend that we follow Jesus’ pattern.
  • We are a neighbor when we lovingly care for a person in need (Lk. 10:36; 1 Cor. 10:24).
  • Friends may betray us (Lk. 21:16) and if they do, we focus on making these opponents our friends so they do not take us to court. In court, we lose everything (Matt. 5:25).

I give to others the strength the Lord has given me

My goal is to experience and minister Christ's life in each situation and to each person. So how do I ensure God’s love, joy, and strength are present?

Source 1:The joy of the Lord is my strength” (Neh. 8:10; 1 Chron. 16:27; Ps. 81:1). God’s joy makes me want to sing and shout. It is the heartwarming emotion I feel when I experience His unconditional love. This occurs every time I interact with Jesus, Immanuel, the one whom I behold at my side (Ps. 16:8; Acts 2:25). As I see Jesus present and walking with me, I am transformed by what He is saying and doing (2 Cor. 3:17-18). I speak and do what He is speaking and doing. What I see Jesus doing energizes me by granting me God’s emotions. God’s emotions release God’s power (Acts 2:1-4; Ps. 133; Matt. 14:14).

Jesus, the great storyteller, painted Kingdom pictures (Matt. 13:13) which released Kingdom emotions, which in turn released Kingdom power. As we share Spirit-led stories/pictures of how Jesus has encountered our lives and ministered His grace to us, we ask the Spirit to draw from these beautifully painted stories the appropriate principles which will transform and improve the listeners' lives. 

Source 2: Two are better than one” (Eccl. 4:9). Therefore I will invest the time, attention, and energy to ensure a close friendship with my spouse or, if not married, with another person. I need the strength of someone at my side.

Source 3:A cord of three is not quickly broken” (Eccl. 4:12). It is in the multitude of counselors that there is safety, wisdom, and strength (Prov. 11:14). So I will seek out and honor a multi-gifted team of counselors. I am not designed to walk alone.

I continuously extend to others...

  1. Honor
  2. Emotional encouragement
  3. Unity
  4. Mercy
  5. Service 

These are expanded in the article 36 One Another Commands. These are God's rules for interpersonal relationships. I recommend memorizing the five motivations above. Then make sure you are honoring these five attitudes throughout the day in every encounter.

If you want to reduce the five down to one for easy recall, it is "Treat people the same way you want them to treat you" (Matt. 7:12 NASB).

Journaling questions when I’m in a relational stance

  1. Jesus, as I speak with this person, do I have a smile on my face and an upbeat voice? Can I smile on the inside as well as the outside or do I feel like I need to force it?
  2. Lord, am I honoring emotional responses (mine and the person I am with)?
  3. Jesus, let me see You next to this person. What life-giving words are You speaking to them? I shall speak the same.
  4. Jesus, am I overwhelming this person (with my energy, words, mind)? Do I need to pause?
  5. Lord, what do You want me to note in the body language of this person?
  6. Lord, am I listening to them to hear their hearts OR to offer a comeback? “Active listening” defined - Listen closely to what a person is saying and then respond, “What I think I am hearing you say is this… because of this… Is that correct?” This keeps you focused on what the person is saying, rather than on thinking about what you are going to say next. It ensures that you heard properly. It makes the person feel they have been heard. It deepens relationships.
  7. Lord, what is the root cause of the pain that I (or this person) am experiencing right now, and what is Your approach to resolving it?
  8. Lord, am I employing my gifts from You to serve this person well (1 Pet. 4:8-11)?

Journaling questions when I need to return to a relational stance

  1. Jesus, am I in a fight-or-flight posture where I just want a problem, person, or feeling to go away? Is my mind "locked onto" something upsetting and I don’t want to listen?
  2. Lord, am I returning to calm after upsetting emotions (e.g. breathing deeply and slowly, going for a walk, taking a nap, worshipping, praying in tongues, etc.)?
  3. Lord, how do You want me to respond to resolve the tension in this relationship? Lord, what would You have me do rather than withdraw from this relationship?
  4. Lord, what steps would You have me take to find and return to joy right now, and do I need to seek input from multi-gifted counselors who are ahead of me?
  5. Ask the individual, “What can I do to improve our relationship?” Then, to the best of your God-anointed ability, humbly do what is asked.
  6. Lord, what are gifts of love I can extend toward this person?
  7. Lord, what would You reveal that will restore my hope and give me direction? What is the gift You are bringing forth through the tension in this situation?

A list of the above journaling questions can be downloaded here.

Enhancing Communication Skills Series

  1. Enhancing Communication Skills
  2. Twelve Strategies of Compassionate Communication Within the 4 Keys
  3. Create and Sustain Romantic Love to Last a Lifetime
  4. Romancing the King of Kings
  5. Face to Face with Jesus, Our Perfect Model for Intimate Communication
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