Sometime last year, I received a copy of John Maxwell's book Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. It was a freebie that Michael Hyatt was giving away on his blog. (side note: if I ever get to be a famous blogger, I'll give away more books than I do now. Right now, I'm a receiver on this, and hope to someday give.)
As I've read this book, I've seen something in me that I don't like, and that I'm striving to change. It's actually summarized in the parenthetical above about books. Often in communication, I'm taking more than I'm giving. I have a broadcast mentality, and that's not all that effective for building relationships.
That's a change I want to make. Right now, I broadcast. Really. I write blog posts that people, at least a few, read. I preach sermons. I teach longer-than-necessary Sunday School lessons. My sermons go out as podcasts. This is all one-directional communication.
I see this blending into my personal life as well. There are times when my wife and I should be having a conversation, but really we end up exchanging monologues. I get involved in the homeschool process to give a lecture, but rarely to do questions and answers. And when I do, it's still one sided.
So, one of my goals, resolutions perhaps, in the coming year is that I will work to be more interactive. Move into, well, the 21st Century. I do remember when the web was a one-sided thing, and now it's a two-way conversation.
My efforts will certainly fall short, and I'm not going to abandon the traditional sermon and go to a groovy new format. I am well aware that mass communication is a part of life, and a useful part at that. However, that can't be all of life. So, I want to sit down and listen. Respond to the questions being asked.
This will be a challenge for me. It's much easier to trade broadsides, but that will never draw close to others.
So, for you, dear readers, two questions and a request:
1. Generally speaking: what do you think are the more important parts of communication between people?
2. Specifically: What can you do to help your life contain conversations and not broadsides?
3. Personally, a request: How can I communicate better with you?