This weekend at the Bridge (our Sunday evening service) Jessica and I will be continuing our March discussion on “conversation disconnect” where we’ve been evaluating some of the requisite principles of great communication. Learning to communicate well is not only important for strengthening our existing relationships, but it also equips us to effectively reach out to new friends and acquaintances. In his book Winning With People John Maxwell expands on six suggestions from Dale Carnegie’s famous book How to Win Friends and Influence People. Here are the six suggestions with selected comments from Maxwell.
1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
Someone once asked Perle Mesta, the greatest Washington hostess since Dolly Madison, the secret of her success in getting so many famous people to attend her parties. “It’s all in the greetings and good-byes,” she claimed. As her guests arrived, she met them with, “At last you’re here!” As each one departed, she expressed her regrets by saying, “I’m sorry you have to leave so soon!”
Have you ever experienced one of those look-in-the-mirror realizations about yourself that changed the way you lived? I had one when I was in the third grade. I looked at my face, and I thought, John, you are not a handsome dude. I wondered, What can I do to change that? Then I smiled. And I thought, That helps! I’ve been smiling ever since.
3. Remember that a person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound.
4. Be a good listener–encourage others to talk about themselves.
5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
A young married couple sat silently on a porch swing one warm June evening. The young wife looked over at her new husband and asked, “George, do you think my eyes are beautiful?”
“Yep,” answered George. A minute went by.
“George, do you think my hair is attractive?”
Again George answered, “Yep.” More time passed.
“George, would you say that I have a gorgeous figure?”
Once again George answered, “Yep!”
“Oh, George,” she gushed, “you say the nicest things.”
6. Make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely.
As we approach the Easter season wherein we intentionally reach out to friends and loved ones with church invitations, let’s communicate in ways that express genuine interest, kindness, and compassion.