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5 Un-Christlike Ways to Communicate and How to Avoid Them

By Mormon.org
Girls exuding Christlike communication on a park bench.

Communication Pitfalls

Jesus Christ was a master communicator. He expressed love and wisdom in His words and actions. In our realm of communication there’s always room for improvement, always room to communicate more like Jesus Christ. The following are five pitfalls to avoid in your daily associations.

#1 Interrupting

When we’re too eager to add our two cents to every conversation, we risk missing important details and opportunities to strengthen relationships. Stephen Covey gave sound advice when he suggested listening with the intent to understand. Most people listen with the intent to reply. When we listen to understand, we’re more patient and more likely to learn from others.

#2 Emphasizing the Negative

Pause to check your thoughts before you speak. Words have the potential to lift, inspire, and motivate others or do just the opposite. If your thoughts are on the negative side, try replacing them with something more uplifting before you send them out into the world. Consider the following quote from Zig Ziglar: “Life is an echo. What you send out comes back. What you sow, you reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others exists in you.” Practice emphasizing the positive, and reap the rewards.

#3 Ignoring Nonverbal Cues

When you’re too wrapped up in what you’re sharing, you might miss important nonverbal cues coming from the recipient of your communication. Shifting feet or long deep breaths might indicate that someone is having thoughts you’d benefit from knowing. Get to know those in your circles well enough to read their nonverbal cues. By doing so you’ll help those around you feel valued, get to know them better, and enjoy improved relationships.

#4 Being Critical or Gossiping

Use the Golden Rule to measure your communication. If you find yourself being critical of someone, stop to consider how you would feel to receive your own criticism. Most criticism can be eliminated entirely with no ill effects. If you must be critical, make sure you’re constructive. Constructive criticism is just that—constructive. It is delivered in a way that builds others.

Gossiping only serves to tear others down and is usually built on judgment and assumptions. If you can’t resist speaking about others, make sure to let everyone know all of the good things about the people you’re blessed to know.

#5 Forcing Personal Opinions

Respect is a vital component of healthy communication. When we respect others, we’re mature enough to “agree to disagree” and let go of the need to force our opinions. This can be difficult, but respecting someone’s right to his or her own opinion will highlight the quality of your character, and you’ll be held in higher esteem by all you associate with.

Communicating like Jesus Christ means infusing all that you say and do with as much love as you can muster. If you’d like to learn more about how Jesus Christ communicated with others, click here to request a visit with missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.