Speak A Good Word

April 13, 2018

One communication researcher did a study on people’s ability to identify another’s emotional moods from facial expression, body posture, and tone of voice. Not surprisingly, these non-verbal forms of communication actually do communicate. People can accurately identify emotional moods without words at a higher rate than chance would explain. Further, some people are better at reading emotions than others. Women did a better job than men in this particular study.

But one interesting fact from the study confirms the wisdom of Solomon: “Better is open rebuke than hidden love” (Proverbs 27:5, ESV).

The researcher divided the moods into four categories: pleasurable or distressing, active or passive. The easiest emotions for his test subjects to spot were the active/distressing ones such as fear, anger, and disgust. Test subjects almost always identified them correctly. But when the moods were passive/pleasurable, such as feelings of love, admiration, and satisfaction, the test subject often missed them. The subjects either confused these emotions with one another, or half the time, labeled them as boredom or dislike. The researcher notes:

The implications are obvious: if two people like each other but never give voice to their affection, there’s good change at least one of them will miss it. Yet if one party is temporarily upset by the other, it will come through loud and clear, even without a word spoken. Remedy: if you feel positive toward someone — say it.*

We communicate even when we are not saying a word, but effective communication of the good feelings we have towards others needs the added touch of the spoken word.

*Em Griffen, Making Friends (& Making Them Count), pp. 88-89.


Speak A Good Word

October 11, 2013

One communication researcher did a study on people’s ability to identify another’s emotional moods from facial expression, body posture, and tone of voice. Not surprisingly, these non-verbal forms of communication actually do communicate. People can accurately identify emotional moods without words at a rate higher than chance would explain. Further, some people are better at reading emotions than others. Women did a better job than men in this particular study.

But one interesting fact from the study confirms the wisdom of Solomon: “Better is open rebuke than hidden love” (Proverbs 27:5, ESV).

The researcher divided the moods into four categories—pleasurable or distressing, active or passive. The easiest emotions for test subjects to spot were the active/distressing ones such as fear, anger, and disgust. Test subjects almost always identified them correctly. But when the moods were passive/pleasurable such as feelings of love, admiration, and satisfaction the test subjects often missed them. The subjects either confused emotions with one another, or half the time, labeled them as boredom or dislike. The researcher noted:

The implications are obvious: if two people like each other but never give voice to their affection, there’s a good chance at least one of them will miss it. Yet if one party is temporarily upset by the other, it will come through loud and clear, even without a word spoken. Remedy: if you feel positive toward someone—say it!1

We may communicate even when we are not saying a word, but effective communication of the good feelings we have towards others need the added touch of the spoken word.

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1Em Griffin, Making Friends (& Making Them Count) (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1987), pp. 88-89.


Rules for Good Communication

April 5, 2013

Good family relationships require good emotional and spiritual health coupled with the ability to communicate and solve problems. Unhappy families report either a lack of communication or bad communication. Dr. Nick Stinnett spent twenty-five years studying successful families. His research found six rules for good communication.*

  • Rule #1 – Allow Enough Time. Talking may be spontaneous as chores are done or it may be planned. Time is needed to talk about the pleasant things of the day. Even when talking about a problem, what starts the conversation may not be the real issue, but it will be reached as the conversation proceeds.
    Rule
  • #2 – Listen. All of us have probably heard the old adage God gave us two ears but only one mouth. James warns us to be “quick to listen, slow to speak” (James 1:19). Listening should be active and not passive. You shouldn’t be racing in your thoughts about what you will say next—listen to the person who is talking and also watch for the nonverbal cues, facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice.
    Rule
  • #3 – Check It Out. Sometimes we need to check out what the other person means by their words, moods, tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language. We can’t read minds, and we may miss something communicated indirectly unless we check it out.
  • Rule #4 – Get Inside the Other Person’s World. Each of us has his own unique experiences. These experiences are a lens through which we view the world. Successful communication requires empathy – understanding the other person’s perspective.
  • Rule #5 – Keep the Monsters In Late-night Movies. Successful families with good communication avoid communication killers. They keep the “monsters” of communication locked up. The “monsters” are disrespectful judgments. Critical and demeaning behaviors are caustic to relationships.
  • Rule #6 – Keep It Honest. Strong families have openness and honesty. They also avoid manipulation. Honesty occurs in an atmosphere of kindness and love. Courtesy and consideration are practiced with openness. “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ… Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another” (Ephesians 4:15, 25, ESV).

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*Dr. Nick & Nancy Stinnett and Joe & Alice Beam, Fantastic Families, pp. 77-88