I've been thinking about how I use language lately.
As a parent of two young "parrots" I've often found myself choosing to use different words for fear that one day my kids will repeat something I wish they hadn't heard from me.
I wonder how often we as communicators and leaders would say the same thing? A good friend of mine once shared with me the burden he feels as a worship leader to help create a worship vocabulary for his community. He chooses every song carefully with this thought in mind: how do these words help edify the God we serve while drawing people closer to Him?
What a great challenge!
So, when we communicate with others, are we desiring to pursue clarity or confusion as our end result? My hope is that I can provide clarity to those who I may be sharing with verbally. Here are five things that I'm learning about how to communicate both plainly and simply so I can be understood.
1.Talk with someone, don't talk to them. Interaction is key to enhance understanding.
2. Choose different words. Some of the leadership, theological and parental terms bring more confusion than clarity. It's important to know your audience and know what sort of language use is appropriate.
3. Be consistent. Any parent will tell you the value of this principle...same goes for leadership. Be consistent in how you communicate and when you communicate. Waiting to communicate often leads to a heightened emotional response...and sometimes these responses can be avoided and/or stabilized with consistency.
4. It's okay to be different. Don't be someone else...be yourself. Communicate with others through the lens of your life's story and journey with Jesus. If your story is rooted in Jesus, your story is more powerful than you can imagine.
5. Relax. In our over-stimulated society, it sometimes takes time for a message to be translated, decoded and absorbed by your audience. Don't fret if you cannot see an immediate response to your communication strategy. Instead, rest in the fact that you aren't asked to do it all, you are simply asked to play a role in God's unfolding story...plain & simple.
What do you think, are there other communication lessons you are in the process of learning?