Critical listening and critical thinking are the key aspects of effective communication. That entails listening and thinking on a deeper level. Most people are thinking about what their response will be when engaged in a discussion, rather than focusing on what the speaker is saying.
Effective communication requires the listener to hear what the other person is saying before they respond. Interrupting the speaker cuts off the flow of thought. Therefore, people should avoid interrupting the speaker. The height of respect is to acknowledge the speaker, hear what the speaker is conveying, and then respond, once the speaker has concluded.
The hardest part of communication is to remain non-judgemental of the speaker and to acknowledge that there may be more than one perspective on a subject or issue. Few people are willing to accept the viewpoints of others without an argument. Although debating an issue is healthy, arguing from a specific viewpoint may not yield a healthy result. Words start wars. But most people use words unwisely, without thinking about the damage words can do. This is evident in relationships between couples, parents and children, friends and associates, and co-workers.
In today’s political arena, it is clear that people are not cognizant of the damage their words do in their communities and in the world. People are not taught about the power of words. They should learn to use them frugally, ethically, and for the highest good.
When our country’s leadership cares less about lying about their policies, actions, and private endeavors, we the people are in deep trouble because “Follow the leader” is in effect and young people pick up the bad habits of those in charge. This is evident not only in politics but in religion, education, and economics.
Lying is cheating at its lowest level. When young people learn that those in high places get away with cheating, stealing, and lying, they follow suit and the fabric of society suffers. Good people speaking well is a goal that more of us should aspire to.