Study after study shows that effective communicators have longer marriages, deeper friendships, better relationships, more successful college and career experiences, make more money and are generally happier than their less articulate counterparts. Most people know communication is important, but they don’t fully understand to what degree. Eighty-seven percent of everything we do during the day is communication related; communication is far more than just making speeches or having good manners. While you may manage to live your entire life without making a speech, you will not get through one day without communicating something to someone! Here are the top 10 reasons you and your children should learn effective communication skills.
1. Your Marriage
“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” -Proverbs 21:19
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, over half of all marriages end in divorce and the number one reason cited is lack of effective communication! By the way, that number doesn’t improve if you only consider the Christian community. No two people are going to get along ALL the time. The trick in a long relationship isn’t avoiding conflict, it’s the successful resolution thereof! In addition, men and women communicate in completely different ways and sometimes for very different reasons. I talk about this in my book Say What You Mean Every Day, in chapter one, “How to Talk to Your Spouse ‘Cuz You Must!”
2. Your Kids
“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” -Colossians 3:21
Parents who communicate effectively with their children give them a clear sense of boundaries and security. They show them love and give them a sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Children who learn to communicate effectively can articulate their wants and needs. Those who don’t are led to violent behavior in order to have those misunderstood needs met.
3. Your Ministry
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” 1Peter 3:15
What harm does it do if you approach someone the wrong way about Jesus? The worst they can do is say no, right? Wrong! Someone who has been told repeatedly that they are going to hell may grow weary of people spiritually beating them up. It leaves them with a bad taste in their mouth about Jesus, Christianity or Christians in general. This can apply to other Christians who don’t see things exactly as you do. “Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God-” 1 Cor 10:32
4. Your Education
“He who answers before listening-that is his folly and his shame.” -Proverbs 18:13
“Students with ineffective listening skills fail to absorb much of the material to which they are exposed. Their problems are intensified when they respond incorrectly or inappropriately because of poor speaking skills.” -National Communication Association study on Why Communication is Important
5. Your College Career
“From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.” -Proverbs 18:20
College applications require several essays these days. Not only do they evaluate your student’s accomplishments, which are written into the essay, but they evaluate the ability of the student to convey this effectively. Admission officers are looking for articulate and accomplished candidates. If your student is accomplished but cannot convey that to a college admissions board, he will be passed over for one who can! Even the college entrance exams are communication skills-intensive these days.