Quick to Hear – The Guideline

After a few articles providing some background on the development of Quick to Hear, we now begin to consider how we can use Quick to Hear and the 19:14 Model as a practical tool.  If you would like to go back to the start of this series, go here.

The Guideline

Since we are done with the more introductory information and with this article, I will begin to break down the model and look at the specific parts. We begin with the Guideline. See the Guideline (in red) displayed in the 19:14 Model below.

1914 Model

The key to the Guideline is to keep our interactions on track. The Guideline provides the basic path we should follow. That path begins with Context, continues through Interim Objectives, and ends at our Goal. Let’s look briefly at each of these sub-parts to the Guideline.

Our Ultimate Goal

Before we take a look at the specific parts of the Guideline, let’s be reminded that there is an overarching and ultimate goal for our communication. As we identified in the last article introducing the 19:14 Model. The ultimate goal is that the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in our Lord.

Context

Context describes the consideration we do prior to the interaction. What is the context of the interaction we are going to have? In this brief article, let me share one simple technique to help you use context. Prior to your conversation, meeting, interview, sales call, etc., answer the following basic interrogatives about the interaction: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.

Consider going a few levels deep on each question to ensure you really understand the context. Here’s an example of going a few levels deep. Who am I meeting? Bob Smith. Who is Bob Smith? He manages an account for Acme Widgets and is a deacon at the church. Who really is Bob Smith? You go deeper with this question by thinking about what you know about Bob, his likes, dislikes, personality preferences, etc. If the upcoming meeting is very important, you might consider doing some additional research to collect more information about Bob, going a little deeper still. You then do the same process with the remaining interrogatives. At this point, you will have a very good understanding of the context.

This might seem like a bit of work and it certainly can be if your interaction involves something of importance. But we need to ask ourselves how we intend to use the gift of communication that God has given us. If we are truly seeking to love God and our neighbor (the person we are communicating with), I think the effort is worth it. Further, it gets easier with practice.

Goals and Objectives

When I taught this part of the model during my Intelligent Communication Course seminars, I always asked the students if they can recall a time when they entered an important meeting without knowing what they wanted to accomplish during the meeting. Each time, just about everyone’s hand goes up. This is a common issue. And it does not just apply to meetings. It should apply to each time you pick up the phone or start writing an email. We need to have a goal. Communicating without a goal is one of the biggest obstacles to effective communication.

Setting goals for our communication is not difficult, it is just neglected. This is one of the most important aspects of the Quick to Hear model. It provides a reminder of those important aspects of effective communication that we tend to forget. If you begin applying this part of the model doing the practical exercise below, you will begin building a good habit that should become automatic through practice.

Goals and Objectives – An Analogy

The two words, goals and objectives, are often synonymous. In Quick to Hear, they describe different and important aspects of effective communication. Let’s take a look at how the model uses them. We will use a football (that is American football) analogy. See the graphic below.

Guideline.png

When I use the term goal, I am referring to the key goal of the interaction. This is a goal that falls under our ultimate goal to glorify God and say and do what is acceptable to Him. A key goal might be to comfort, teach, admonish, encourage, correct, or train (Col. 3:16; 1 Thes. 15:14; 2 Tim. 3:16).  Our goal is what we are trying to accomplish through communicating with another person.

In our football analogy, our goal is the goal line. But, in football, teams do not score a touchdown on every play. Often, they are just trying to make a first down. This allows them to keep the football and moves them closer to their key goal: a touchdown. We should do the same thing in our communication. We should identify interim objectives that will help us and move the interaction closer to our ultimate goal.

Goals and Objectives – Example

Let me give you a practical example I used in an article I wrote for my blog that dealt with the importance of communication skills for medical professionals. During a medical appointment, the goal for a medical professional might be a treatment plan for the patient. Before they can achieve that goal, they will have a number of interim objectives. These might include: review the patient’s current vitals, get a brief medical history, identify the patient’s symptoms, and make a diagnosis. They may also consider adding an interim objective of establishing rapport. I recommend that this be a common interim objective, as having rapport makes many other communication techniques/skills much more effective.

Practical Exercise

In this article, I provided a brief introduction to the Guideline. I understand that I covered a lot of information in a brief article. Let’s now consider a practical exercise. At this point, our practical exercises are getting more specific. Further, they will lead us to begin using Quick to Hear in our own communication. Pick an upcoming interaction to begin. Prior to that interaction, work through the three aspects of the Guideline.

  • Ask yourself the basic interrogatives about the interaction: who, what, when, where, why, how.
  • Determine your key goal. What do you want to accomplish?
  • Identify a few interim objectives that will help you along the way.

After the interaction, do an after action review with yourself. How did it go? How did a basic application of Quick to Hear help?

After you do all this…do it again and again and again. After all, we are trying to develop a habit here.

In the next article, we will begin looking at the meditations of our hearts.

Be quick to hear and slow to speak,

rjm

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