Learning How To Communicate Seminar Notes


Dr. Norman Wise

This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. – James 1:19,20

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well – James 3:1,2

The one who guards his mouth preserves his life;

The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.  – Proverbs 13:1-3

I.  What is communication?

When what I have in my internal world I send to you using words, pictures, sounds, objects, and physical expressions and the person who is receiving the message detects it has been sent, interprets this message, and gives feedback to the sender on their understanding of the message.   If the message received matches the message that was sent, then communication has occurred.

II.  Biblical Examples of some of these dynamics

“So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage.”

“ Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “ Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the sons of Israel go out of his land.” But Moses spoke before the Lord, saying, “Behold, the sons of Israel have not listened to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me, for I am unskilled in speech?”  Exodus 6:9-12

“But Moses said before the Lord, “Behold, I am unskilled in speech; how then will Pharaoh listen to me” Exodus 6:30

“Yet Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said.”  Exodus 7: 13

III.  Honest and Dishonest Communication

For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting …” Romans 16:18

“These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you” …  1 John 2:24

“But evil people and charlatans will go from bad to worse, a deceiving others and being deceived themselves” 2 Timothy 3:13


Some deception is sincere

Some deception is not sincere

Some people deceive to protect others

Some people deceive to protect themselves

Some people deceive to profit from others or gain control over them.

The first thing that is needed in communication is TRUST!

My trust can be in degrees.  Once reasonable trust in the other person’s message has been lost, it is hard to communicate.

Trust the character and competence of the person.

IV.  Communication Dynamics

Hierarchy influences communication

Some people are:

There are authorities in our lives who have a right to tell us what to do and have greater character and competence.   – Example would be God

There are authorities in our lives of greater competence but less character

There are authorities in our lives of greater character but are not competent

There are authorities in our lives that lack character and competence

There are people that are of the same authority level, character, and competence.  –

There are people of lesser authority, or character, or competence that should depend on us.

People may not agree with where they stand in the hierarchy.   Conflicts sometime arise because of a different perception of where we are in this chain.

People who have authority deserve expressions of respect even more so than is common in our communication. 

“Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”  Romans 13:

V.  Elements of Communication

Listening skills

1.   Seek first to understand and then be understood

2.  Listening is not agreeing

3.  Want to listen and understand not just the message but the reasons

4. Delay judgment

 5.  Admit your biases

 6.  Don’t tune out “hard” subjects

 7.  Accept responsibility for understanding

 8.  Encourage others to talk

9.  Don’t Interrupt

10.  Do echo back in your own words what you believe the other person meant to communicate.

VI.  Know the purpose of the conversation

1.  Sharing Life – Story telling

2.  Sharing a problem for the purpose of gaining empathy not help

3.  Expression of a feeling

4.  To hurt

5.  To teach

6.  To seek the sharing of ideas

7.  To seek an answer or solve a problem

8.  To give an answer

9.  To dominate the other person

10.  To encourage the other person

V.  Knowing when to S.T.O.P an unhealthy conversation

Step back from an abusive conversation and end it with a promise to have a healthy exchange.

Take a breath.  Don’t escalate and calm yourself down.

Observe yourself  – Write this down if at all possible.

            What was I feeling?

            What was I thinking?        

            What bothered me?

            What could I do to make things better?

            What would my “most wise friend” tell me about this?

Proceed with a plan to handle this issue in a healthy way.

VI.  Can people tell you that you are wrong?

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,

But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.  (Proverbs 12:15)

A wise son accepts his father’s discipline,

But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

 From the fruit of a man’s mouth he enjoys good,

But the soul of the treacherous is wrong.

It is better to listen to the rebuke of a wise man

Than for one to listen to the song of fools. – Ecclesiastes 7:5

Think about criticism before you reject it.

VII.   Reading

A.  Don’t read between the lines.

B.  Ask for clarification before you react

C.  Use the S.T.O.P. method with correspondence that upsets you.

D.  Echo back the message you have heard to make sure you got the message

VIII.   Speaking

1.  Don’t make your personal world a fact that others have to accept

2.  Think about what you say before you say it.  (Disney land or Afghanistan)

3.  Watch adjectives that judge the other person’s character or competence

4.  Be clear on the purpose of what you say.

5.   Use the “sandwich” method of communicating difficult messages

            Sincere positive

            Difficult message

            Affirmation of value of the person

6.  Use the “speak to others the way you would like to be spoken to” standard

7.  Use language that reflects the person’s culture and worldview.  Don’t make them learn your “language” use their language.

8.   Ask the Holy Spirit to help you have self-control over the words you use.

9.  Reflect the gospel of grace in the words you use. 

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” – Ephesians 4:29

10.  Use the “echo” method to confirm your message.

IX.  Writing

1.  Read any significant communication out loud before you send it.

2.  Ask the person who gets it to give you feedback on what they believe your main points were. 

3.  Sometimes easier to be more logical and cool in writing.

4.  Sometimes it keeps us from being interrupted. 

5.  Hard for people to know our emotional tone.

X.  Questions


Peace Table Training for conflict resolution

Life Journaling by Dr. Norman Wise – Teaches a process that can be used to resolved conflicts and to process problems, which helps communication.

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Last by Gary D Chapman