Building Trust and Intimacy in Communication (3)

Building Trust and Intimacy in Communication (3)

“Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”  Col 4:6 NLT

Building trust and intimacy in communication requires: (1) Working to build trust. Trust is not a “right,” it’s a privilege you earn by proving you’re trustworthy. We pay little attention to politicians who say, “You can count on me,” unless their track record supports it. Christ’s standard for trust was “believe because of the work you have seen me do” (Jn 14:11 NLT). We know from social psychology research that speaking gently and slowly can deepen the listener’s openness and respect for you. The tone of your voice matters a lot. The University of Houston did a conclusive study that found if you lower your voice and speak slowly, your listener will respond with greater openness and trust. This research has helped oncologists present bad news to patients in a more supportive way. When doctors reduced their speaking rate and pitch, patients perceived them as more caring and sympathetic. The Bible calls this “a soft answer” (Pr 15:1), and it will work for you too. (2) Training your brain to really listen. Listening is hard work, because we habitually focus on ourselves and our interests through constant self-talk. Studies show that the average person cuts in before the speaker finishes. Even doctors who are trained to listen for important medical information tend to cut patients off within twenty-three seconds—long before they have been fully heard. Train yourself to stay focused on the other person, their words, facial expressions, and body language. Within just a few weeks you can train yourself to become the kind of communicator people will trust.

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