Effective small group communication will bring group members closer together. It is also required to build trust and support.
If we aren’t careful, our conversations can result in disaster. We have all done this at times in our life and paid the consequences. Poor communication is a waste.
Avoid doing the following 8 things to make sure communication in your small group is effective:
1. Don’t Listen
Have you ever spoken to someone and realized part way into the conversation their mind was on something else? How did you feel when that happened?
Be present when you talk with your small group members or they will quickly draw the conclusion that you do not value them.
It is disrespectful to interrupt someone who is speaking to us. It tells them that we care more about what we have to say than what they are saying.
Let the person talking with you finish before you respond. Unless you can claim a 100% success rate of reading minds, you have to allow the person to finish talking before you know how to respond.
3. Get Distracted
There are distractions all around us. Distractions aren’t good when driving and they aren’t good when talking with others. A distraction can abruptly stop the conversation.
Avoid distractions when you are in a small group conversation (i.e. turn off text and email alerts on your smartphone). If one happens, acknowledge it and get right back to the other person. Don’t allow it to pull you away. If having a great conversation is not a strong enough reason to avoid distractions, know that distractions also make us dumber.
Arguments rarely end well and they rarely end with the other person changing their mind. Arguments also can lead quickly to anger, which can have serious consequences on the relationship and our health.
There is a difference between disagreeing and arguing. Allow each person to express an opinion and support that opinion with scripture, knowledge, and experience. Do it in a way that you learn from each other and continue to value each other. You can agree to disagree. On disputable topics, Paul talks about what to do in Romans 14.
Merriam-Webster defines the word babble as:
“To talk foolishly or too much”
In your small group communication, speak concisely with good sense and wisdom.
6. Be Dishonest
Not being open and honest is a quick way to kill a conversation (and many future conversations). Trust takes time to build and no time to lose.
Be honest and don’t mislead others in your discussions. Build trust, don’t tear it down.
7. Use Jargon
Unless we are writing an academic paper, we need to minimize or eliminate the use of jargon. Yes, we use jargon in our Christian discussions. If we assume the person we are talking with should be spiritually mature enough to know the definition of those words, that may be part the problem.
I believe there is a danger in using a significant amount of Christian jargon, especially if we are doing it to seem more spiritual. At that point the conversation is about us and not about the other person. They are unlikely to stop us and ask what the words mean if they believe we will think less of them for not already knowing.
Make sure you are talking in simple, generally understood words in your small group communication. Don’t run the risk of the people you are talking to not understanding
Some people are more sensitive to certain words, names, situations, and opinions than others. We can say something in our conversations that can offend the other people without us even realizing it. Once offended, they are probably not listening to anything else we say.
Get to know the other members in your small group. The better you know them, the more sensitive to their perspective you can be in your communication.
Avoid the above 8 ways to cause your small group communication to fail. Experience stronger relationships as your conversations build trust and respect.
Question: What communication failures have you experienced? How did you overcome them? You can leave a comment by clicking here.