Articles From the December 1994 Unification News


Are We Really Communicating?

by Don Sardella

International communications expert Sandy Robbins, of Landmark Education Corporation, recently told me that the most important point to understand about communication is that we don't. And yet many times, we think we do.

When we look at the fundamentals of our lifestyle, it's amazing to see how much of what we do is communication. Our prayer with God, the way we listen to Father, receiving and giving directions, conducting meetings, witnessing, lecturing, public speaking, doing business, etc. Given how much time Father himself invests communicating, I suggest we take a few minutes to ponder about this art.

Consider the following questions:

How can we listen to Father such that we inherit his heart, tradition and take action as God would desire us to take action?

How can we speak in a way that God's heart and message is recognized, appreciated and acted upon by our listeners?

How can we strengthen our communications skills in order to fulfill our God-given destinies as Tribal Messiahs?

There is no talent more important than the ability to communicate, which we can use to share our love and our lives. Heung Jin Hyung Nim once cited that 85-90% of problems in the world are problems of communication. He goes on to say that people have continued to disunite, deviate, divide and fight because of miscommunication or a lack of communication.

To look at it another way, as we become more masterful at the art of communicating, centered on the Principle, we can grow to become the source of 85-90% of the solutions for much of what troubles God and mankind.

Given this observation, what would it take to gain more mastery of the communication arts? To begin with, it takes an investment of time and sincere effort. Effective communication is much more than exchanging information. It takes time, skill and effort to learn to share important thoughts, feelings and ideas. It involves practices that may require the development of new habits and oftentimes the shedding of some old ones. This can best be realized through some form of well- planned, well-led training.

Why would such an investment be worthwhile? Simply stated, since the art of communication plays such a pervasive and powerful role, we can actually benefit every relationship we have or want, and anything we think, say or do.

With regard to our witnessing efforts and public relations work, we can:

* strengthen our abilities to win public trust;

* convey the sincerity and the message of our True Parents;

* enroll others in the vision and the value of Heaven's traditions;

* motivate people to commit to a life of faith and service to God; and

*continuously take care of those people and each other.

How can we further develop those skills and train ourselves? All new practices, habits and traditions are developed through a process of spaced repetition or recurrence over time. We are thus challenged to seek out, research and utilize the expertise of professional training. We can start this process through books, tapes, further give and take amongst ourselves (either informally or through organized sessions) or seminars conducted by training professionals.

Here's a couple of suggestions that you might find useful in the interim.

1) Communicating is a 100-100 proposition. Try taking 100% responsibility for what you say and check to see if your heart and message are being understood as you intended. Also, take 100% responsibility for what you listen to and hear. Ask questions for clarification if you're not sure that you received the heart and message that your speaker is working to convey.

2) Take twenty minutes a day for one week to do the following exercise with either your spouse, a friend or your central figure. Start with one person speaking for ten minutes and having the other person listen with their undivided attention. Then switch roles. Notice the difference that this exercise makes in your relationship. If you deem it worthwhile after one week, we recommend that you continue this exercise as a daily practice.

As you probably know, this article is just an introduction. It takes time, energy and effort to immerse ourselves in the communications arts. Our intention here is to serve as a catalyst for further research, discussion, action and results.

We at the Institute for Leadership Development are always interested to know how we can best be of service and support to you as Unificationists. Write with your comments, suggestions, questions or feedback, c/o the Unification News. Thank you.


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