Talking to each other
I’m in an airport trying to get in a short visit with my family before fall kicks into higher gear. It’s going to be very hot and humid but I’m so very excited to see my girls! It’s been way too long for this mom.
I’m flying standby today and as I listen to people in airports trying to talk with each other, I am reflecting on many conversations over the last few weeks about the differences between communication and connection.
Lately the emphasis has been on horizontal communication… particularly in the work environment.
Good communication is crucial.
We have been taught in all kinds of leadership development courses / college classes / Marriage Encounter experiences / spirituality retreats and the like how vital clear and consistent communication leads to personal maturity and growth. There is a deep and timeless wisdom to this notion.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this…
Communication really isn’t enough.
[There. The elephant in the room is acknowledged.]
Because unless you have a really compelling reason for me to listen to what you want to communicate, I’m probably not going to retain the information you communicate to me.
It only requires a cursory look at public education / advertising / marketing / television / dare-I-say-church to see that most people forget what they hear about 5 minutes after they hear it.
So while horizontal communication is all well and good… what good does it do unless there is a compelling reason for the listener to be further engaged. To possess information… relevant or irrelevant… really isn’t necessary in this day and age of technology. It’s always at your fingertips.
So the next logical question is: Then what?
The compelling reason for me to listen is that you want to connect with me. For some greater purpose than to merely report to me what is going on in any given situation.
Do you want my feedback? My ideas or suggestions? Do you need my help? Are there problems to be solved or tasks to be done? Can I contribute to your success in some way? Do you want to collaborate with me on something?
It’s great to share information, don’t get me wrong. But if you really want to engage me in a common vision, seek the compelling reason… and connect with me.
I think that’s a really great idea to focus on for all kinds of church ministry.