Slow to speak, quick to listen

I’ve been reflecting on James 1:19, which in part reads: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”  I believe this verse tells us how we can improve communication.

Half of effective communication lies with the listener. We need to be “quick to listen,” meaning we should listen with the intention of hearing to understand. As has been said before, there is a reason God gave us two ears and one mouth. We should listen twice as much as we speak. This will represent a time commitment to pay attention and understand—like reading the rest of this email.

Next, we need to be “slow to speak.” This doesn’t mean we don’t speak but rather are careful in what we say and how we say it. We should take time to help people hear what we mean to say by crafting our messages for our listeners.

Finally, we need to be “slow to become angry.” Despite our best efforts to listen and speak carefully, miscommunication is going to happen from time to time. When it does we need to be slow to anger. If we can be slow to anger in the face of miscommunication and apply the rest of these scriptural commands I think we will improve our communication.  May God help us do so.