The Art of Communicating
by: Allen Domelle
Communication is defined as, “The imparting of information and the successful conveying or sharing of ideas and feelings.” The degree of your success in any field of life will be determined by how well you can communicate with others. A preacher who is a poor communicator will never grow those whom he leads. A teacher who is a poor communicator will fall short in conveying information to the students whom they teach. The soul winner who is a poor communicator will never reach the souls they could reach had they learned how to communicate.
Communication is a part of our daily lives. Husbands and wives communicate with each other to keep their marriage strong. Parents and children who have strong relationships have learned to communicate with each other. Employers and employees who want a smooth flow of operation must have a clear line of communication. Every day we have to communicate with people. Most hurt feelings and disagreements come because people have not properly communicated what they feel. One of the best ways to keep all relationships strong is to work on your lines of communication with each other.
God says in Proverbs 18:24, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” This verse is truly talking about people communicating with each other. You can’t show yourself friendly if you don’t communicate. Have you ever thought someone was conceited because they never talked to you? Yet, you found out later that they were very shy and didn’t know how to talk to you. This happened because they didn’t learn how to communicate well. Being friendly starts with communication.
Jesus Christ is the Master communicator. He communicated to us Who He is, what He wants us to do and how He wants us to do it through the Scriptures. Jesus Christ masterfully communicated in sixty-six books what He expects of mankind.
When you look at the life of Christ on Earth, you find that He was able to masterfully communicate to every crowd and in every situation. When He called Peter and Andrew, He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)
When Jesus came across a lady whose life was filled with sin, He masterfully communicated with her to bring her to the realization that she needed a Saviour. He said to her, “Give me to drink.”(John 4:7) You will notice that Jesus commonly started His communication with short powerful statements that caused the listener to interact. By the time Jesus finished His conversation with this lady, she ran back to the town people and said to them, “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (John 4:29) How did this lady come to this? She came to this realization because Jesus was able to communicate.
When Jesus faced the adversity of those who wanted to catch Him making false statements, He again masterfully communicated to them. He said to one crowd questioning Him about taxes, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s.” (Luke 20:25) When they brought a woman to Him whom they accused of being caught in adultery He said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7) No matter what the situation Jesus faced, He successfully communicated what He believed and wanted to get across.
If you are going to be a successful soul winner, then you are going to have to work on your communication skills. The better you learn how to communicate, the better you will become at reaching the lost for Jesus Christ. There is no doubt that meeting people on the street whom you do not know is not the easiest thing to do, but if you know how to communicate with people you can lessen the stress of going and be enabled to talk to anyone whom you come across.
In order to communicate, you must have a connection with people. I like to illustrate communicating by using two hands. To get those hands to hold each other, the first thing you must do is get one finger from each hand to touch. You continue to add a finger until all fingers are interlocked together and two people are walking hand-in-hand. When you get five points of contact, then you will create a bond, or relationship. Communicating is the only way that you will accomplish this.
The key is breaking the ice. This is one of the areas that most people find hard to do. Going up to someone you don’t know and trying to establish a connection with them is one of the most intimidating things you may do. If you are going to communicate the Gospel to someone, you must first break the ice by getting the first point of contact. When you find something in common with someone, it then breaks the ice to be able to establish dialogue.
Breaking the ice can be easy if you learn how to gather information so you can break the ice. I have found there are three important things you must do that allow you to gather information so you can break the ice and communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others.
- Be observant
When you walk up to someone or knock on someone’s door, you must be observant of their surroundings. Jesus saw the surroundings of Andrew and Peter and He said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Your eyes will see things that you both have in common. You may see something that you both have in common which naturally allows you to relax and establish a point of contact with others. For instance, I have watched Pastor Bob Gray II use his special needs son as the tool to break the ice with others. When he sees another special needs child, he immediately goes to the parents and introduces himself and tells them he also has a special needs child. That all happens because he is observant. It allows him to talk about what they have in common and eventually come around to their salvation.
Listening will give you great information so you can break the ice with people. Jesus oftentimes listened to people as they first addressed Him to know how to properly communicate with them. I was in a restaurant years ago talking to a lady when she happened to mention something about her life that we both had in common. Immediately, I took that thing we had in command and I told her about my situation which broke the ice and eventually allowed me to lead her to Christ. When you first start talking to people, let them talk and listen for those things that you have in common.
- Learn to connect with something in your past or present.
You will only learn how to connect with someone’s past or present by listening. Everyone has something in common with you, and you must take what you have in common and use it as the ice breaker so you can communicate the Gospel to them. Don’t let what you have in common be wasted. Use it to create a connection so you can give them the Gospel.
You will find these three things are the keys to being able to communicate with anyone. Without breaking the ice, you will never create dialogue with people. Communication is important to creating dialogue before you witness to someone.
Before you can observe, listen and find the thing from your past or present with which you can connect, you must have that initial ice-breaker. I have several, what I call, “Generic ice breakers” that we all might have in common with someone. I use these generic ice breakers to establish the first point of connection. Some of these generic ice breakers are:
- Place of employment
- Where they lived
- Children or grandchildren
- Pets, etc.
When you look at the list above, you can use them to establish a connection. For instance, you can comment on that day’s weather because it is something you both have in common at that time. Maybe it’s a beautiful day; you can comment on the great weather which allows them to start the process of talking back to you.
Maybe you notice that they have the same type of pet that you do. I have always found that anyone with a pet likes their pet. If they didn’t, then they wouldn’t have a pet. Comment on their pet and it’s similarities to one you had in the past. I have used dogs as the ice breaker in so many situations because I like dogs.
I was recently preaching in Alaska and saw a lady walking her dog. It was a big dog, so I asked the pastor to pull over so I could talk to this lady. I approached her and immediately commented on her beautiful dog. I told her about my dog and we established a connection that later allowed me to help her with a great spiritual problem that she was facing at that moment.
Commenting on someone’s child or grandchild will always help you to connect. Parents love their children and grandparents are proud of their grandchildren. Saying something positive about their children and equating it to your own children will help you to break the ice.
These generic ice breakers are keys to helping you go further into the Gospel with them. Remember, our desire should be to break the ice so we can present the Gospel. God has not allowed you to have things in common with people for no reason. Use those things as generic ice breakers to be able to communicate the Gospel to others.
I must be sure to give you a couple of things to avoid.
Never use these two things when you don’t know what someone feels about these areas. These are hot topics and can quickly run someone off. Remember, you are trying to give them the Gospel. You are not running for public office. You will never be able to correct their religious beliefs without first giving them the Gospel. Don’t attack their religion, JUST GIVE THEM THE GOSPEL!
Finally, let me say to always be friendly. Keep a smile on your face. Greet people happily. People like being around someone who is happy and friendly. If you come across as if you are about ready to interrogate them, then you will quickly run them off. Relax and realize that Christ does the saving, all you must do is yield to the Holy Spirit and be the tool to communicate the Gospel. When you break the ice, presenting the Gospel will become easy.
Allen Domelle is the editor of the Old Paths Journal which is more than just a Christian’s publication. It is an excellent place to learn how today’s headlines will forge tomorrow’s laws and statutes. Keep yourself in tune with what is happening around the world, as well as in your own backyard with our daily updates and devotionals.