Pursuing genuine communication

March 1, 2011

As I sat in a meeting several days ago, gazing at those assembled, contemplating the face of Christ in the face of each of the participants, I recalled one of the most profound insights I’ve ever heard, which came from Fr Franco Lever:

…genuine communication [is] measured not by the efficacy with which one interlocutor can influence another but by the richness of the encounter.

The richness of the encounter…

We should judge our many meetings by this criteria, rather than determining their efficacy by accomplishment, productivity, task-generation, or the level of acceptance of our contribution.  The truly humble person will listen intently during meetings without simultaneously calculating a judgment or response.  It often is — but should not be — uncomfortable when there are brief periods of silence while the group takes time to consider what has been shared.  Meetings should include a reasonable amount of verbal affirmation, but often don’t.  People should be allowed to contribute, not be rushed because of an agenda.

Can you think of other elements that would enrich our meeting encounters, and contribute to “genuine communication?”