1

Your cart is empty.

Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

24 Apr '13

Subtle shifts in language can make all the difference in terms of what people hear

Posted by T.J. Addington
One of my pet peeves are preachers who regularly use the pronoun "you" instead of "us." The first feels like I am being preached at and that the issues don't belong to the speaker as well. The second is inclusive - as it should be as speaker and listener are both under the authority of the Word. It is a small but subtle difference that makes a great difference.

Leaders of all sorts regularly share new ideas with those they lead. How they frame those ideas again makes all the difference. I can say "this is it!" or I can ask "Is this it?" One pronounces the end result, the other invites feedback, dialogue and discussion and clearly says, "your feedback and participation is important. It is the difference between a pronouncement and a question.

How often in marriage conversations when we are irritated say "You always...." which is almost always an exaggeration. Far fairer to say, "you know sometimes you....and I am sure I sometimes do it too" which is far softer and fairer. 

For those of us who communicate regularly it is helpful to invite a few trusted folks to give us feedback on subtle but important ways that our communication style is problematic or could be improved. Usually we are not even aware of ways in which we disempower others in our communication. I am always grateful for those who play that role in my own life.