Leaders and Interpersonal Communication
Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. Matthew 12:33-35 ESV
Kingdom leaders are constantly communicating to those they lead and influence. Developing the skill of interpersonal communication should be high on our ‘to do list.’ Here’s some practical ideas to that end.
- Remember: We speak at a volume of 2, but are heard at a volume of 9!
- We are always communicating something. Even not communicating communicates something! Non-verbal communication is always happening.
- Think before you speak! Act; don’t react! You can’t take back something once it has been said… the effect will inevitably remain. A Russian proverb says, “Once a word goes out of your mouth, you can never swallow it again.” Watch those text messages!!!!!
- No form of communication is simple. Even simple communication is complicated by many variables. Words do not have inherent meaning; we simply use them in certain ways… no two people use the same word exactly alike. Don’t assume that just because you told them they now understand!
- Communication does not happen in isolation. There are many contextual factors: psychological, relational, situational, environmental and cultural… all influence communications significantly. Adjust your communication style to fit your audience!
Tips for Understanding Non-verbal Communication
- Recognize that people communicate on many levels… facial expressions, eye contact, body posture, voice level, hand and feet movements, use of space/distance, body movements and placement, culture and appearance as they walk toward you.
- If a person’s words say one thing and their non-verbal message says another, you will tend to listen more to the non-verbal message … that is the correct decision.
- Non-verbal communication can provide up to 85% of the meaning of any conversation. Pay particular attention when doing interviews.
- Probe non-verbal communication during a conversation in which you need facts and believable statements. Again, the non-verbal may reveal more than the person’s spoken words.
- When leading a meeting or speaking to a group, recognize that non-verbal cues can tell you: when you have talked long enough; when someone else wants to speak; and the mood of the group and their reaction to your remarks.
Becoming a skilled interpersonal communicator is a developmental goal for Kingdom leaders. Start today!