“Pleasant words are…healing.” Pr 16:24 NAS
For effective communication: (1) Make use of the “eye-gate.” Eye contact stimulates the brain’s social-network circuits, decreasing the stress hormone and increasing the sympathy hormone. Intentionally looking at the other person enables you to quickly respond to the seven basic facial expressions—anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, contempt, and happiness. These are keys; use them. (2) Express appreciation. The first words you speak set the tone for the entire interaction. A single compliment can create trust. Loyola University researchers found that when people in conversation are in basic agreement, interactions between them are experienced as mutually satisfying. Alternatively, disagreement immediately creates defensiveness in the listener. So begin each conversation with a compliment, and end it with a phrase that conveys genuine appreciation. Research demonstrates that remarks made at the end of an interaction are especially effective because they linger in the hearer’s mind. “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul (emotions) and healing to the bones.” (3) Keep it brief. Our conscious minds retain only a tiny bit of information, which is “booted out” of our memory as new information is uploaded. So it’s better to speak a sentence or two at a time, then take a breath. “Let your words be few” (Ecc 5.2 NAS). If you think a lengthy conversation is needed, let your listener know in advance. This prepares them to focus, and ignore the intrusiveness of their own inner self-talk.
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