May 31, 2016

How to Analyze Your Unspoken Communication



Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? These are simple, yet profound, guidelines that a friend suggests everyone follow when communicating. What are some benefits of following these policies?

  • Less confusion
  • Less anger and hurt feelings
  • More free time (since people would talk much less. lol.)

Let’s put it this way: Jesus was on the cross for about 5 ½ hours, but he spoke only seven crucial statements. His words lasted about one minute. There was no mistaking the importance of his clear message. He knew what he wanted to say, and he said it. No muss. No fuss.

Confusing Meanings

Human beings are usually different. Illness, fatigue, anger, sadness, anxiety, and any number of variables can factor into our intended (or unintended) message. It’s easy to give or take offense where none is meant. It’s also simple to misunderstand even the most basic ideas. That’s probably because words are packed with emotion—every one of them.

For instance, “Indian” was once a perfectly acceptable term in America. I don’t know if the word was considered insulting, but it was unclear. It was used to refer to indigenous Americans as well as people originating from the Indian subcontinent.

In recent decades, “Native American” has become the more accepted term. It clarifies the fact that these individuals were the first inhabitants of the land, not the Europeans. Still, this wasn’t satisfying to everyone.

Within the past two years, I have also heard the term, “First Nations”. This label seems to be satisfactory for two reasons:
  •  It still acknowledges that these people were the first dwellers in the land.
  • It lets us know that this unit includes many tribes and traditions. In other words, it doesn’t group them all together. Nobody loses their identity.

The Furor Over one Name

For the past two to three years, there has been a huge controversy over the name of Washington D.C’s National Football League (NFL) team, The Washington Redskins. This name is considered to be an unacceptable throwback to an earlier, more disrespectful, time. Thousands of people have pressured the owner to change the name.  There has been a huge backlash on social media. Fifty U.S. senators have written to the NFL commissioner. They have asked him to endorse a name change.

My Conclusion

How can we overstate the importance of words, if a single word can spark a social-media blitz and a senatorial campaign? Let’s not forget the fact that the accepted names for social groups change throughout the decades, too!

Since words are so incredibly powerful and fragile, we’ll want to ensure that our communication is clear, kind, and necessary. Proverbs 15:1 gives us an image of how compassionate communication benefits the speaker/writer as well as the listener/reader: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word turns up anger.” (NIV)

Related Posts

Top Reasons to Weigh our Words  

Is your communication promoting war or peace?