Monday, November 8, 2010

One more on communication in conflict

On Friday I posted some thoughts about communication while in conflict. Here's one more thought that I find useful; I meant to include this one in the previous post, and simply forgot it!

Don't be confident when discussing conversations you were not a part of. Instead, be ready to have your view and understanding of that conversation changed. I've been in discussions where I heard someone begin to tell another person what they said during another conversation. This gets especially sticky when the one doing the "telling" was not even a part of the original conversation! And it can be a real problem then, as well.

Often we will be told something in a report on what was said, and because of the source of that report we believe that we know the content of that conversation even as if we had been a part of it. But we are wrong in that belief-- it is just as likely that the person reporting to us mis-heard or misunderstood what was being said as it is that they got it right. Plus, we need to remember how strongly the Bible speaks against gossip and slander-- two sins that are far too easy to be a part of in the reporting of a conversation.

If we must bring up a previous conversation-- and especially one that we weren't a participant in-- it is far better to approach with questions, asking for clarification about both what was said AND what was meant. If we can approach such circumstances this way, we may come away with a much different (though more accurate) view of what was said.

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