Monday Manna

Investing Time To Care, Listen And Connect

july 8 mm
By Robert J. Tamasy
• July 8, 2024

Having spent the entirety of my career in communications – first as a newspaper editor, then magazine editor, director of publications and communications, and book author and editor – the art and complexity of communicating have always fascinated me. We employ myriad means for conveying our messages.

Communication has evolved in new, innovative ways most of us could never have imagined just a few decades ago. For centuries, thoughts were conveyed orally, then written by hand. The invention of the printing press revolutionized communications, putting words and ideas on paper. With the advent of the telegraph and telephone, people for the first time could communicate across long distances. Radio and TV brought immediacy to information and ideas that needed to be expressed. Then computer technology turned communications on its head, bringing us things like email, instant messaging, websites, search engines, blogs, podcasts, social media, and video conferencing. 

Even with these many advances, however, the essence of communicating has remained unchanged. During my years of teaching business communications, I offered a simple way to define communications: “The successful exchange of meaning.” That is, the “Sender” (individual desiring to communicate a specific message) and the “Receiver” (the person to whom the message is directed) mutually understand what is being communicated. This holds true whether communicating to millions or to one person.

Leadership consultant Tim Kight recently passed away following a long battle with cancer, but his wisdom continues to influence people in many ways. He often talked about interpersonal communications and its challenges. For instance, he said, “Invest the time to care, listen, and connect. When you care, you seek to understand. When you listen, you create the personal connections that enable high levels of communication and collaboration. When you connect, you share ideas and perspectives, and you make better decisions.” Following this advice, we accomplish the successful exchange of meaning.

In the Bible we discover many truths for communicating with and relating to others in positive, beneficial ways. Here are just a few of the principles presented in the Word of God:

Recognizing the impact of our communications. Words can encourage, motivate, heal and inspire. They also can cause great harm if used carelessly. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21).

Listening intently shows how much we care. Often in conversations people do not listen; they merely wait for the other person to stop talking. Cultivating the skill of listening demonstrates genuine care for the other person. “He who answers before listening – that is his folly and his shame” (Proverbs 18:13).

Respond appropriately. After we have heard what the other person has to say – not only the words but also the heart – we can thoughtfully respond in meaningful, understanding ways. “A man finds joy in giving an apt reply – and how good is a timely word” (Proverbs 15:23).

Treating others as we wish to be treated. The so-called ‘golden rule’ of putting the interests of others first is a sound principle to follow as we strive to communicate effectively with others. “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you” (Luke 6:31).

© 2024. Robert J. Tamasy has written Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC’s Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Discipleship; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart, coauthored with Ken Johnson; and The Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard. Bob’s biweekly blog is:

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. If someone were to rate or evaluate you as a communicator, how do you think they would respond? Do you think you are able to communicate effectively most of the time? Why or why not?
  2. What are some of the communications problems you encounter over the course of a typical work week? When those problems are not properly addressed, what are the results?
  3. How important do you think it is to “care, listen and connect” in your everyday communications? What challenges might prevent you or others from being able to do this consistently?
  4. Which of the four principles from the Bible related to the communications process seems most significant to you? Explain your answer. 

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages: Proverbs 10:19,32, 12:14, 13:3, 15:1-2,4, 16:13, 17:28, 20:12, 22:11; Philippians 2:3-4

Challenge for This Week

As you proceed through the coming week, strive to be conscious of your interactions with others – what you communicate to them and how, and what they communicate to you and how you respond. How often do you think you succeed in the “successful exchange of meaning,” and how often does the possibility of misunderstanding arise?
Consider asking a good friend, mentor or advisor about how they perceive your communication skills. Do they see room for improvement? If so, what suggestions might they have for you?