READ IT OUT LOUD FIRST

Please read that out-loud to me.

That is a request one pastor makes when people send him an email of criticism or correction. He adds that he wants to make sure he gets the “right tone and emphasis intended”.

Face-to-face communication is usually best, especially when there is critique involved. This was true of handwritten letters and it is even more true with email, and it’s quadruply (not a word, but you get the idea) true for social media responses.

There are two big challenges to communication at a distance:

1.  Our communication may not express the care and respect that was in our heart. A single word can create unintended negativity

2.  Our communication may use abrupt or harsh of language that we would have the sense not to use face to face.

Part of Great Commandment living is to love our neighbor as our self. This requires that we express love in every communication. Remember communication includes not only what we intend to convey, it equally involves how the other person receives it.

Here is some wisdom for electronic communication:

Try not to communicate in the emotion of the moment

Give time before you respond to what others have written to you

Read it aloud to yourself first

Ask yourself, if you would say this face-to-face

Would you say this if someone you respect was there to listen?

Does this communication have the agenda of the gospel in it?

Does this even need to be said?

And if you must respond in a corrective way:

Be prayerful

Be humble

Ask someone else to read it first

Include some form of encouragement

Soften the language as much as possible

Seek clarification, in case you misunderstood them!

Try to present your correction in the form of a question. This helps the other person think about your concern themselves.

You can read the article that inspired this post here.

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