So I have to ask this question:
What’s your idea of the perfect conversation?
Maybe it’s having someone’s undivided attention as you talk about your dreams, fears, and frustrations. Or maybe it’s listening to a friend talk about an issue or tough decision and then offering him/her wisdom and advice. It also might be as simple as catching up with friends and laughing so much it hurts. Whatever your ideal conversation is, you need to understand that you have a God-given need to connect with others on a deeper conversation level.
So when you talk to others do you tend to be energized, or would you rather sit back and listen? Both types are needed for the body of Christ to grow and work effectively. God made each of us with different gifts. The question becomes, are you using the gifts that God gave you?
In Ephesians 4:11-12 it says: “And He personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the training of the saints in the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ.”
Maybe you don’t feel like you’re a strong enough communicator to be a teacher or an evangelist. That is OK. You can still learn to communicate well with the people God has placed in each of our lives. God has a part for each of us to play. We need to be prepared to do our part.
The art of communication is not easy. In fact, there are some who never do really master it. Consider the following facts that can inhibit our communication with each other, especially if you are talking to someone of the opposite sex:
- Women speak an average of 20,000 words in a 24 hour period.
- Men say only around 7,000 words in the same period of time. That is 13,000 fewer words a day.
- Women need to feel like they are “connecting” when having a conversation with someone. It is important to use eye contact and reflect back their emotions when talking to a woman.
- Men tend to focus more on activities or sports when hanging out with one another. When talking to a man, you need to be willing to step away from deep conversation at times and just enjoy each other’s company.
When trying to talk to someone, it can be very difficult to engage the person on a level that they will be able to be fully engaged with you. If this is so, how in the world are you supposed to ever get someone to understand and connect with what you are trying to say?
When it comes to having meaningful conversations with people, here are three things to keep in mind to help you make those conversations as meaningful as possible.
The key to connecting with anyone is to simply be yourself. Be authentic. People can easily pick up on if you are being fake in some way. Don’t put up walls and don’t lead anyone to believe you’re someone you’re not. If you really want to engage b=people in meaningful conversation, you need to be willing to make yourself vulnerable. Reveal some human weakness. By being real, you build trust with the person. In a one-on-one chat, trust will get you from point A to point B more quickly, which can lead to the start of an amazing friendship.
What’s everyone’s favorite topic? Themselves. They don’t need the world to revolve around them; they just need to know they matter and that people are interested in their life “stuff.” So cultivate the lost art of listening. It gives someone your undivided attention and shows that you care about what they care about. Listening is one of the essential ingredients in a meaningful conversation as well as a great relationship.
Work the Group Chats
We’ve all been there. That awkward moment when you’re in a group setting and don’t know anyone. Facing your first time at a new small group or social event can definitely be uncomfortable, but don’t avoid an opportunity to get to know a new face. Step out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to someone who might feel as out-of-place as you. Find out what their passionate about and what they enjoy doing in their spare time. If you are in college you can ask what their major is and why they chose it. If you are past college, ask them what they enjoy doing when they are not at work. You might find common interests or new activities that you would like to explore yourself. God grows and stretches us in group settings. That’s one of the reasons He established the church in the first place. Communication is a crucial element in becoming more unified as the body of Christ.
Meaningful conversation does not alway come naturally. If takes intentional effort at times to be effective. The results can be very rewarding though. Challenge yourself to work on your conversations with people so they can be meaningful for both of you.