Study after study shows that effective communicators have longer marriages, deeper friendships, better relationships, more successful college, and career experiences, make more money and are generally happier than their less articulate counterparts. Most people know communication is important, but they don’t fully understand to what degree. Eighty-seven percent of everything we do during the day is communication-related; communication is far more than just making speeches or having good manners. While you may manage to live your entire life without making a speech, you will not get through one day without communicating something to someone! Here are the top 10 reasons you and your children should learn effective communication skills.
1. Your Marriage
“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” -Proverbs 21:19
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, over half of all marriages end in divorce and the number one reason cited is lack of effective communication! By the way, that number doesn’t improve if you only consider the Christian community. No two people are going to get along ALL the time. The trick in a long relationship isn’t avoiding conflict; it’s the successful resolution thereof! In addition, men and women communicate in completely different ways and sometimes for very different reasons. I talk about this in my book Say What You Mean Every Day, in chapter one, “How to Talk to Your Spouse ‘Cuz You Must!”
2. Your Kids
“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” –Colossians 3:21
Parents who communicate effectively with their children give them a clear sense of boundaries and security. They show them love and give them a sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Children who learn to communicate effectively can articulate their wants and needs. Those who don’t are led to violent behavior in order to have those misunderstood needs met.
3. Your Ministry
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” 1Peter 3:15
What harm does it do if you approach someone the wrong way about Jesus? The worst they can do is say no, right? Wrong! Someone who has been told repeatedly that they are going to hell may grow weary of people spiritually beating them up. It leaves them with a bad taste in their mouth about Jesus, Christianity or Christians in general. This can apply to other Christians who don’t see things exactly as you do. “Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God-“ 1 Cor 10:32
4. Your Education
“He who answers before listening-that is his folly and his shame.” -Proverbs 18:13
“Students with ineffective listening skills fail to absorb much of the material to which they are exposed. Their problems are intensified when they respond incorrectly or inappropriately because of poor speaking skills.” -National Communication Association study on Why Communication is Important
5. Your College Career
“From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.” -Proverbs 18:20
College applications require several essays these days. Not only do they evaluate your student’s accomplishments, which are written in the essay, but they evaluate the ability of the student to convey this effectively. Admission officers are looking for articulate and accomplished candidates. If your student is accomplished but cannot convey that to a college admissions board, he will be passed over for one who can! Even the college entrance exams are communication skills-intensive these days.
6. Your Job Interview
“A fool’s mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul.” -Proverbs 18:7
These days, companies are looking for someone who is knowledgeable and confident without being arrogant. They ask interview questions designed to flush out your true desires and beliefs, and they evaluate your appearance to help them judge which candidate is best. Not all of your interview is based on your resume; in fact, they will only grant an interview if you have a stellar resume! The resume is just the beginning of the job interview process. Interviewers will ask you things like, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Employers want a concise, but not a negative reason why you left your previous employment. According to a study in 2000 done by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 1000 human resource managers ranked preferred skills for being hired as follows: 1) Oral Communication Skills, 2) Written Communication Skills and 3) Listening (which is a communication skill).
7. Climbing your Corporate Ladder
“He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.” -Proverbs 22:11
People with good communication skills are more likely to do a better job which would naturally result in promotions. Here are some of the results of various studies on the impact of communication skills on job success:
* Research done by the U.S. Department of Labor concluded that the skills most needed by employers in the 21st century that tomorrow’s workers must master are “listening and speaking abilities.”
* Persuasion skills and the ability to interact with others result in greater career advancement and higher salaries for graduates according to a 20 year-study of Stanford University MBA’s.
8. Your Business
“Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6
Business owners have to communicate on a variety of issues including 1) How to save time and money on your supplies, 2) Creating a communication package for your business, 3) How to present yourself as an expert in your field, 4) How to effectively handle customer service, complaints and returns, 5) How to make contacts, 6) Effective use of social networking groups, 7) Handling kids and business, 8) How/when to share your faith in business, 9) How to gain support from family and friends, 10) How to motivate your employees, 11) How to train your customer service staff, and 12) How to deal with customer relations and company image issues. All of these issues involve mastering certain communication skills!
9. Your Friendships
“An offended brother is more unyielding than a fortified city, and disputes are like the barred gates of the citadel.” Proverbs 18:19
Good communicators enjoy 1) Self Confidence, 2) Leadership, 3) Personal Presence, 4) Credibility, 5) Ability to Explain and Persuade, 6) Understanding of Others, and 7) Interaction Enjoyment. Every one of these qualities helps us to make friends and maintain relationships!
10. Your Happiness
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” -Proverbs 25:11
Studies show that effective communicators are actually happier than their counterparts. This is precisely because they have happier marriages, better friendships and relationships, better careers, make more money and are fulfilled. They know how to get the things they want and need in life because they know how to communicate those wants and needs effectively.
In today’s complicated and secular world, miscommunication and misunderstanding abounds and, because of this, it takes far more communication skill to get along in the world these days. Further, each aspect of communication requires different skills and techniques to master. For these reasons, the Lord mentions communication skills HUNDREDS of times in His Word. Communication skills are vital for all relationships, for career success, and most importantly, are imperative to fulfill The Great Commission. God talks about communication skills in His Word hundreds of times. Isn’t it about time we heeded His warnings and studied them?
JoJo Tabares holds a degree in Speech Communication, but it’s her humorous approach to communication skills which has made her a highly sought-after Christian speaker and writer. Her articles appear on Crosswalk.com, Dr. Laura.com and in homeschool publications, such as Homeschool Enrichment Magazine and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, which also endorses her Say What You Mean curricula. JoJo is the owner of Art of Eloquence.com, the host of the weekly podcast, Grace Talk Soup, the creator of Foot in Mouth Man, the host of the annual Say What You Mean Convention.com. For more information on JoJo or creative and fun communication curricula, visit http://www.ArtofEloquence.com