"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry ...." (James 1:19, NIV)
One of the most common causes of frustration and friction in ministry is that we don't really listen to each other. Too often we talk at each other rather than with each other.
Research shows that we spend about 40% of our waking hours listening, yet most of the time we're only listening at 25% efficiency, and that creates many of our problems.
Fortunately, listening is a skill that can be developed.
The benefits of learning how to listen are enormous: fewer mistakes, better negotiating, greater wisdom, more friends, less arguments, and much, much more.
The Bible says, "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry." If you do the first two (be quick to listen and slow to speak), the third will be automatic.
Three things that hinder our hearing:
- when we think we already know it all. "He who answers before listening - that is his folly and his shame." (Pr. 18:13, NIV)
- when you interrupt and jump to conclusions. "There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking." (Pr. 29:20, NLT)
- when we are defensive and unteachable. "The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice." (Pr. 12:15, NIV)
You can learn from anyone if you know the right questions to ask!
Let me suggest three HEARING AIDS:
- Listen with your eyes - Approximately 80% of communication is non-verbal. Facial expressions and body language usually tell the real story. Look at people when you listen to them!
- Listen with your heart - Be sympathetic. Tune in to the emotions behind the words.
- Make time to listen to the people around you - Tom Peters calls it "Managing By Walking Around."(MBWA)
Imagine how your ministry could be transformed if you focused on carefully listening to those around you. Give it a try this week!
This article is used by permission from From Rick Warren's Ministry ToolBox, a free weekly e-newsletter for those in ministry. www.pastors.com.