Archive for the ‘communication’ Category

Misunderstanding Can Lead To Distress

March 21, 2017

“I swear I don’t know that woman.” Man to wife at restaurant

An attractive woman who knows me stopped and waved Hi to me at the restaurant. Between us was a couple at a table. I waved back. Just a friendly greeting.

But the woman turned to me, “You know her? I saw your arm go up.” Her husband, worried (I guess), had protested innocence.

Cute. But those things happen.

We misunderstand. Make assumptions. Get confused. Make accusations. Become angry.

“Never assume malice¬†if it can be explained by mere stupidity,” said a guy recently.

Someone makes a comment. We misunderstand and blow the whole exchange out of proportion.

We misunderstand a leader and go off and do something counterproductive.

Think of how often Peter, the apostle, misunderstood his teacher. Well, basically all the time. It caused him distress time and again. Especially at the end, when he denied even knowing him.

Between the thought and response is a gap. Do we shorten that gap and say something foolish? Or do we pause in that gap? Take a breath. Thought flashes in that gap–did I understand? Should I ask for clarification.

Between the thought and response lies our future.

Do What You Say; Say What You Mean

December 2, 2016

Did you ever end a phone call where the other person said, “I’ll get right on that and call you back shortly” knowing that there was never going to be a return call?

How about when Jesus was walking somewhere and met 10 individuals with a terrible skin disease? He told them to go show themselves to a priest. That meant that they would be healed of the disease and the priest would give them a certificate of cleanliness. And one of them came back to say thanks. And Jesus said, “Were there not 10 who were healed? Where are the other nine?”

One of them returned to complete the loop with thanks.

I was in my favorite little coffee place this week and recalled that a guy had called me and said he’d see me sometime in the coffee shop for some consulting (for free, of course). But he has never come.

The number of people who have said they would get back to me has numbered in the hundreds in my career in business, church work, and non-profit work.

It’s like an epidemic.

Must be one reason why Jesus said at one point, “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’.

Do what you say; Say what you mean.

A basic rule for getting along in society. Don’t be the person with the reputation of never following up. Be the person who calls when they say they’ll call, otherwise they tell you frankly that it’ll be a while or that they can’t get to it. Better to say “find someone else” than to leave them waiting.

Do Words Lose Power With Over or Mis-Use

October 24, 2016

I’m in a Hilton this week. Return trip to Austin. There I was ready to take an early shower to get to a 7am breakfast meeting.

I’m staring at these bottles. Mega-what??

I choose words carefully. I also choose words that I hope translate well to an international audience. And I wonder, how do these words impact emotions as well as intellect.


Mega-Rich. Mega -Rich.

I stared. Mega-body? No. Mega-rich body. Then I saw it was a brand name. Mega-rich shampoo.

How many things can be “mega”? Really?

How many of us just read over the words. Are we impacted by that word anymore? It’s just a brand or marketing speak or something.

I wonder the same things when communicating Jesus.

Are what I call the “Christian code words” still powerful?¬† When we read “sin” do we understand that to which it refers? Or is it just a negative sounding word that means some old lady or old guy is condemning us–sight unseen?

I try to find new ways of expressing the emotion or action that is meant by some of the code words. I’m well aware of the many Christians who listen to a message or song and sub-consciously count the number of code words. If the number hits a threshold, then it is labeled good.

The latest John Fischer podcast conversation featured songwriter / singer Bob Bennett. He was talking about writing songs to reach people who are not followers of Jesus. But that the music publishing houses wanted songs that met the code-word threshold rather than songs of struggle and overcoming.

Bennett said, “It’s like the man who, at a dinner party, reaches over to cut his neighbor’s meat.”

We need to make sure that we are really communicating. Are we over-using words to the point that they lose their appropriate emotional meaning? Are we failing to use words that say what we really mean in a context that can be really heard?