Communication is Key Because Our Words Matter
by Diane Cretin
There are multiple verses about our words in the Bible. My favorite is Psalm 19:14 (NIV):
14 May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
I find Ecclesiastes 10:12 (NIV) to be a good reminder to think about what I say before I say it:
12 Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips.
"Words Matter" is something Leigh Rodriguez used to say when she was the Communications Coordinator at First Presbyterian Church. I agree - they do. Truthful communication is vital for a relationship to thrive.
Recently I had reason to think about the importance of good communication. My husband Lee suggested we go out to eat. He had heard that Flavor had reopened in Sebastopol. I called to confirm that they had patio seating and learned they do not take reservations. We still opted to go.
By the time we found parking it was 5:40. We were told our wait would be 15 - 20 minutes. I was happy to learn they serve wine in both 3 oz and 6 oz amounts as I was the driver. I ordered 3 oz of white wine and enjoyed chatting with my husband. I did not check the time when we got seated. I would guess it was around 6:00. A couple came after us and was seated across the aisle. They got their food and were making good headway on their meal. By 7:00 we still did not have our food. A little after 7:00 I asked our waiter about our food, pointing out the situation with the couple at the nearby table.
I learned that couple had ordered take out and then decided to eat at the restaurant. So their food was ready shortly after they were seated. But here is where good communication became key. We realized our waiter told the manager that we had asked about our food because the manager came to talk to us. He also explained how the couple near us got their food ahead of us. He was pleasant and funny and asked if he could please give me some more wine as a gift. Since I had ordered 3 oz of a red wine to go with my meal, I initially said no. But when he asked a second time I accepted. He needed to do something to try to make our situation better. I ended up needing Lee to finish the wine since I was the driver, but it was the communication and transparency that turned our attitude around.
We have friends who are moving out of state soon. We had discussed having our final meal together at Flavor. When we are at the 7:00 time with no food, I said there was no way this would work as my friend has a bad back and goes to bed early. The manager continued to come by to chat and joke with us (don't worry, only 2 more hours now) until we got our food. And the food was wonderful.
So Lee and I talked about how to make having a shared meal with our friends work at Flavor. For us, it means we probably need to be there between 5:00 - 5:15. We just hit their busiest window of business when we went.
Good food in a nice setting and honest communication turned us from wanting to tell people to not eat at Flavor to wanting to go there again soon.
The other thing I would say about communication is to make sure you tell the truth and own your mistakes. As long as you don't make the same mistakes frequently and you tell the truth about it, most people will be gracious when you own your mistakes.
One of the things I appreciate about our pastoral staff is their strong effort to keep the congregation appropriately informed. With all that is happening these days, that is a big task! I also believe they communicate truthfully with staff. October is Clergy Appreciation Month. There is nothing that says we cannot start early to communicate our appreciation.
My prayer for you is that the people you are closest to communicate in a way that makes you feel valued and loved.