I was talking to a friend one day and she said, “People are always talking to you! Why do you feel the need to encourage people all the time?” What? Is she kidding? Does she know what is going on in the lives of people? Had she looked outside? Had she turned on her TV? People are hurting. Don’t we need encouragement? For a brief moment, I was offended. What are you trying to say? Are you saying I talk too much or that I am not sincere with my words? Or is it that you cannot encourage people because you feel you don’t have anything to offer or are too afraid to engage them in conversation?
Personal communication is becoming a lost art form. People just don’t seem to really talk to other people that much anymore. In today’s society, people are quicker to spend more time with a computer or a video game than hold a real conversation. Fewer and fewer families are spending time sitting around the supper table talking to one another. Many of our young people today have skills to do a job but can’t get through the interview to get the job because they lack the oral skills needed to express themselves and show their marketability. Strangers bypass each other on the street or sit next to each other on the train without speaking a single word. I remember being in a hospital elevator with my siblings and a doctor stepped in. The doctor and I struck up a conversation during our brief elevator ride. When the doctor stepped off, one of my siblings said, “You will talk to anybody. How do you know she even wanted to talk to you?” My Mom heard me doing a radio interview and also heard a recording of me speaking at a recent event. She said, “Girl, you know you can talk! Of course I mean that in the most positive way. You know you need to be on TV or the radio or something!” Now I don’t talk ALL the time. I’m no motor mouth. I am a communicator. As a matter of fact, a lot of the time I’m just listening. A real communicator knows how to listen.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved to communicate with people. Some of my greatest memories are those of me sitting around the feet of my Grandparents listening to them and learning from their wisdom-learning about things that happened way before I was born. I loved to hear about their lives- the happy moments and the sad moments. People lead such interesting lives. I want to know what makes them who they are. What is the real story behind the smile or the attitude? What have they gone through that has led them to this moment? And as far back as I can remember, people always seemed ready to talk to me- even strangers. I remember walking into the gas station and the clerk started up a conversation and before you know it, he started telling me his life story. Before the end of the year, I knew the whole family history (a little more information with each fill-up. Hahaha). It seems to happen everywhere I go. I’m not kidding. I often jokingly say, “Do I have a sign on my forehead that reads, “I want to know your life story?”
I learned early in life that people want to be heard. A listening ear is a powerful tool. I discovered that being able to listen to people and redirect their thoughts back to them so THEY can hear THEMSELVES- hear their own heart- is a gift.
I’ve also discovered that I love to engage people– not argue or debate– but engage, dialogue, encourage, and challenge them to possibly look at life from a different perspective in order to help them gain the revelation that they have the ability and the responsibility to walk in greatness and make a positive impact on the lives around them.
Listen, I’ve got something to say. I’m a communicator and a people person. I make no apologies. It’s a gift God gave me. It’s part of what makes me who I am. Put me in a room with a single person or in a room full of people and let’s talk about it… about what? Life. How can we make life better? What was life like for you when you were a kid? What’s really going on behind that smile on your face? What is the secret of your success? What is the real source of your pain? How can you teach me as well as others what you know? How do you get unstuck and resurrect your dream? What does it mean to really forgive? What does it really mean to live with integrity? Is your life an example of religiosity or true relationship? What’s your purpose? Who are you?
Being a great communicator might not be your life’s mission but stretch yourself and practice communicating. Take time to talk to people. Take even more time to listen to people. You will be surprised at what will happen. You will be suprised at what you can learn, what you can teach, and what you can become. Not only does being able to communicate make you more likeable and marketable but, ahhh…real communication fosters internal and external growth. It builds relationships, creates understanding, and changes the world!
Until next time, stay encouraged as you walk in extraordinary times!
Wendy M. Reynolds