Good communication with almost anyone–your husband or wife, boss, coworkers, children, parents, or friends–depends on a few basic principles of people handling. Learn these, and you will be well on the way to happy, productive relationships.
Honesty. Good communication is built on mutual respect, and respect depends on honesty. If you want to get off on the right foot with others, be honest and straightforward from the start.
Tact. It’s important to be honest, but it’s also important to be loving and considerate in your presentation, especially with people who are naturally sensitive or when the subject could be sensitive.
Wisdom. Wisdom is what helps you be tactful. You can get wisdom through experience, or you can get it by asking God for it. He’s promised it to you in the Bible, in James 1:5, if you ask Him for it.
Love. When people feel loved or cared for, it puts everything else in proper perspective. You may not do or say everything right, but if others see that you are motivated by love, little problems or misunderstandings won’t become big ones.
Prayerfulness. A silent mental prayer is good in any situation, but sometimes praying together and out loud can help things click between you and in the spiritual realm like nothing else. Praying together creates a peaceful atmosphere and inspires unity, and when you acknowledge that you need the Lord’s thoughts and help, He’s happy to give them.
Positiveness. Being upbeat usually elicits a positive response. Encouragement and sincere compliments are always appreciated.
Initiative. Fear of being misunderstood or rejected often holds both parties back. Taking the first step expresses faith in the other person, which usually helps him or her overcome any reservations.
Timing. Knowing when to say something is often as important as knowing what to say. “A wise man’s heart discerns both time and judgment” (Ecclesiastes 8:5).
Sensitivity. It’s not good to be so sensitive to your own needs that your feelings are easily hurt, but it is good to be sensitive to others’ likes and dislikes, needs, and moods.
Open-Mindedness. People’s opinions and the way they approach problems are as different as the people themselves. Turning off your thoughts and being quiet long enough to let others express their feelings conveys respect and fosters positive, fruitful exchanges. People will be much more at ease with you and more likely to turn to you for advice if they know you will be open to what they have to say, even if you don’t agree.
Empathy. Put yourself in the other person’s position and try to understand the feelings that are behind what he or she is saying.
Patience. It’s sometimes hard to listen to what others have to say without interrupting, trying to hurry them along, or finishing their sentences for them, but it’s a way of showing love and respect, which pay off.
A Sense of Humor. A little laughter can be just the thing to keep potentially difficult exchanges from getting too intense. Lighten up!
Approachability. The dictionary defines approachability as “invitingly friendly; easy to talk to.” When someone knows you will take time for him or her, you’ve won a friend.
Clarity. There would be a lot fewer misunderstandings between people if they didn’t beat around the bush or rely so much on hints. Don’t leave others guessing; say what you mean. If you’re not sure they understand your point, ask them.
Effort. Sometimes communicating is plain hard work–but the rewards are worth it!
Consistency. People who communicate regularly understand each other better and are more likely to be able to work through problems when they come up.