I have developed these ten rules for communication, which when implemented, have far more power than any argument could ever have.
- Speak the Truth in Love: This does not mean that you can say anything you want. It is not being rude or ill mannered. However, it is saying what needs to be said, but in a spirit of true compassion, making sure that you are motivated by love. I may be sitting down with a friend and saying, “Hey Mary, I have noticed you’ve been drinking a lot lately, is everything okay?” Instead of, “Hey Mary, you’re so disgusting. You are such a loser because you drink so much.”
- Speak Life: Your tongue has a great deal of power. By what you say, you can set someone’s dream in motion or you can stop it dead in its tracks. Don’t be the person who always squashes somebody’s hopes. Instead, be someone who encourages others to find their life vision. Encourage somebody who needs to hear nice words. If you don’t have nice words, then don’t say anything. Speaking life may take the form of just plain encouragement or it may be redirecting someone to find their true calling.
- Speak Empowerment: Help someone else believe in who they are and what they can do. Sometimes the person you are communicating with just needs to know that you believe in what they can do. Don’t say things that aren’t true but look for their natural talents and passions.
- Speak Positively: We all know that person. The one who can take any situation and find the negative. Don’t be that person! Is your presence in a group or with another individual negative, neutral or positive? You can figure this out by stopping to pause during your communications with other people. Figure out if people become more negative or positive when you get involved, or if they just stay the same. What do you bring to
- Speak Forgiveness: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other…”xvi Learn to accept an apology; the only one who is being hurt when you don’t, is you. By accepting the apology, you are not forgetting what happened, you are simply acknowledging the other party involved and, in the process, relieving yourself from the stress and pain of holding on to something hurtful from the past. Also, make sure you are seeking forgiveness for your mistakes. Always be quick to admit when you are wrong.
- Speak Praise: Always try to catch somebody doing something right. It’s easy to point out when somebody makes a mistake, but make sure you are also telling them when they do a good job. Do this for everyone you come in contact with, whether it is the clerk at the grocery store or the waitress at your favorite restaurant. You never can tell whose life you are influencing. Remember that, “to the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world.”xvii Strive to always build others up.
- Be Kinder Than Necessary: There is a phrase that goes, “Say what you mean. Mean what you say but don’t say it mean.” Remember to be nice to everyone; even people that you may not necessarily like. Always go out of your way to be kind to the people you come in contact with. “You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you’”xviii
- Never Say But: When you use this word, you are conveying to the other person that there are conditions that must be met before you do your part. Some examples would be: “I want to spend time with you but I have to work late.” or “I forgive you but… (fill in the blank). Most people have discovered that by using this one simple word you can also avoid any responsibility; such as, “Yes, I was late for work, but my alarm didn’t go off.” Anything after “but” is just an excuse or rationalization; so, avoid the buts.
- Take Off the Mask: The easiest way to say this is to say, “just be yourself.” So many people today have created this false persona or personality. Many people choose to do this because of the safety and predictability found in being someone we think others will like. The people who are just themselves tend to shine through. It’s very unlikely that you are really fooling anyone with your “tough guy” image or your false wisdom; so just try being yourself. “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. ‘In your anger do not sin’: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…”xix
- Listen: The Greek philosopher, Epictetus, said it best: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen
twice as much as we speak.” If we would only LISTEN to that advice, we would be able to learn so much. Listening is the best communication tool of all because when we listen, we convey the message that we truly care. When we just talk, waiting to respond, rather than listening and responding after hearing the other person, we fail to communicate effectively.
If you are living a good life and sticking to all these principles, then the example of your life will be the best proof of all. By your actions and the results, you get in your life, on a consistent basis, you will be able to convince people without saying a word that you have found a better way of life and have uncovered the truth.
Michael at R2W
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