{Editing Talk?}

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I’m learning to write succinct sentences.

It’s becoming easier to cut out extra words.

But there’s a problem with learning:

Suddenly you see problems that need to be fixed.

Example: When I read a book about listening, I start noticing people with good — or bad listening habits.

Because I’m currently focused on succinct writing, I’ve now been tempted to mentally edit wordy talkers.

Sometimes I wish I could edit/delete:

  • that energetically winding rabbit trail that goes nowhere before it reaches the
  • the elaborate sideline speech about a neighbor’s dental work before we revisit
  • the same phrase you just said a minute ago and the
  • day’s news told three times, three different ways

Maybe I just need to enhance my listening skills…but are you ever inclined to edit talk?

Photo: Pixabay

{ 3 Things About 3 Things }

shumilov-ludmila-59388One.

I am writing weekly, short spotlights on amazing missionaries, composers and church leaders. Here’s what I *taught myself* as I wrote this week:

  1. Be brave and fearless like Mary Slessor. Care more about loving people than what people think of you.
  2. Have faith like John G. Paton. Press on in your work, even though people around you doubt that God can answer prayer and do miracles. Faith, combined with sweat, dirt and hard work, will be worth it.
  3. What you have been doesn’t mean that’s what you will be.  With God’s touch, people can move from being purposeless jokers to daring, adventurous life-changers, like Brother Andrew. 

Two.

If I had to choose a keyword for 2017, it would be “Listen.” Reading a few books about better listening skills has improved me and ruined me at the same time.  I now have goals when I sit down at a gathering to talk to someone.  The talker doesn’t even have to be interesting.  They will become interesting when I give them the gift of my time and attention; when I immerse myself in what they are saying and see the soul behind it.

But, reading these listening books has opened my eyes. It bothers me now when I make the “listening mistakes”, or…when I feel people aren’t listening to me.

I’ve learned that most people don’t really listen. They often just wait as they get ready to talk at you. It takes self-control and self-denial to listen to someone.

Here are three things I want to remember about being a good listener:

  1. Don’t disengage while someone is talking to you.  Don’t ask someone a question, then drift off or look around. That hurts.
  2. Ask thoughtful questions. It lets people know you are listening, keeps you engaged, and actually makes their spiel more interesting.
  3. When you listen, you learn — about everything. “Everyone is an expert on something.” And, when you actively listen to people, you learn something you never knew before.

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Three.

This is the most difficult. After years of calling myself a Christian, I realized I don’t have enough of the one thing that is supposed to mark a Jesus-follower. Yes, I have the quiet time, the doctrine and the lingo. But I want to love people like Jesus showed me from the Bible. Hating sin is the easy part (when it’s someone else’s sin.) And Christians are good at hating the sin, but sometimes not-so-good at loving the sinner…

  1. Look at people (all made in God’s image) with a Godlike, eternal, loving perspective.
  2. Love God and love people. Show I love God by loving people. Show people I love God by loving them.
  3. Expect God to show up every day in my life.

So…thanks for listening.

Lisa 🙂

Three books that have prompted me to write parts of this post:

  1. The Lost Art of Listening 
  2. We Need to Talk
  3. Why Nobody Wants to Be Around Christians Anymore: How 4 Acts of Love Will Make Your Faith Magnetic.

Photo credits:

Pears — Shumilov Ludmila

Hearts —Jessica Ruscello

{ Just Listen. }

listen“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” —Bryant H. McGill

I knew I needed help with my listening skills, so I picked up a book by Michael P. Nichols, PhD. It’s called The Lost Art of Listening.

He says, “Listening is so basic that we take it for granted. Unfortunately, most of us think of ourselves as better listeners than we really are.”

Listening is key to connecting, understanding, and knowing another person.

Why is so hard to listen to others; to be totally engaged while another person speaks?

This is especially true:

–If we don’t agree with what they are saying.
–If their words make us angry.
–If they are taking lots of time to say it.

Listening requires true patience and unselfishness, which can be lacking in the best of us 🙂

Experts agree that good listening makes all the difference between poor communication and healthy conversations.

With that in mind, here are some things I want to work on to be a better listener:

  • Watch body language. When I focus on the talker and look at someone’s eyes, it shows I want to listen.
  • Cut out distractions. And don’t squirm, roll my eyes, tap my fingers or look at my phone while someone is talking to me. Don’t act like I have something better to do, even though I might….

[Okay, what about if your little boy wants to tell you the (lengthy) dream that he had last night? It’s okay to say, “Can you wait a few minutes? There’s a fire starting on the stove…” or…”Why don’t we sit down and write this out later? Then you can read it back to me and you’ll have it forever!”]

  • Listen the talker have his say. Resist the strong temptation to interrupt with a similar story or disagreement. There will (hopefully?) be time for your side later.
  • Ask thoughtful questions.  Before taking your turn, make sure you have understood her point of view. 

Finally, here are some inspiring quotes about listening:

There is a difference between listening and waiting for your turn to speak.~ Simon Sinek

Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery. ~ Joyce Brothers

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.~ Doug Larson

You can’t fake listening. It shows. ~ Raquel Welch

It’s not a coincidence that God gave us two ears and only one mouth. ~Epictetus

Word Prompt of the Day: Coincidence“>