Communication according to Wikipedia, is a process by which we assign and convey meaning in an attempt to create shared understanding. This process requires a vast repertoire of skills in intrapersonal and interpersonal processing, listening, observing, speaking, questioning, analyzing, and evaluating.
Communication therefore is a very important factor in (building and damaging of) relationships. Communication can be put in two broad groups – Words and Non-words. Words are verbal or written. Verbal communication also includes voice tone. Non-words are sometimes also referred to as non-verbal communication motives, body language ie postures, gestures, facial expressions, eye contact etc .; Object communication ie clothing or hairstyles; Symbols. This article looks primarily at Verbal Communication and some key principles that relate to it.
- Manage Your Speech
The tongue is a very small organ capable of issuing both praise and pain. In the book of James in the New Testament it is reported to as a fire capable of defiling the entire body. James also states that it is un-tamable and, full of deadly poison. While many would have been infected by such negative use of the tongue, it is also the only part of our body that can be used to shower praise and encouragement. In order to foster and maintain healthy relationships therefore, It is prudent that we manage our speech effectively as failure to do so could result in the tongue being used more as an instrument for evil than for good.
- Say Things to Build Up Others
The power of speech is also characterized by what we say to and about others. It appears that it is much easier to say uncomplimentary things about someone else than to praise and or encourage them. It is suggested that to in order to discourage gossip, one should respond with a complimentary remark when an unkind remark is being made about a colleague or friend. Unfortunately, many a relationship has been damaged because of the type of remarks made about persons considered to be friends. The advice in Proverbs therefore is still relevant, "a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver".
- Select Carefully What and When to Speak.
Related to this principle is the principle of being careful in one's speech. This involves the practice of thinking before speaking and the art of knowing when to be silent. It is very easy for one to run ahead of one's self and by speaking out of turn or making insensitive and grossly inappropriate statements. Sometimes the folly of such practices is realized right after the words are said but the speaker is helpless to withhold them. Such accidents and damaged and even destroyed long established relationships and could have been avoided if there was less hast to speak and more time was used to think the matter through first. Of equal importance is the need sometimes to resist the pressure to "say something" by withholding one's remarks and to give the impression of ignorant or lack of interest, than to speak out of turn. "Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding (Proverbs).
Relationships are built and maintained on communication. More so they are greatly influenced by the power of speech there before regular application of these principles will put one in good stead with others and will help in maintaining and strengthening relationships.
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