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An Essential Guide to Interpersonal Communication: Building Great Relationships with Faith, Skill, and Virtue in the Age of Social Media Paperback – September 22, 2015
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From the Back Cover
"A rich resource for learning to build real community"
Virtually every human endeavor involves interpersonal communication. An Essential Guide to Interpersonal Communication offers a solid Christian perspective, integrating intriguing insights from the latest research on the influence of social media on interpersonal relationships.
"Schultze and Badzinski provide a firm foundation for flourishing interpersonal relationships in a digital age, integrating timeless scriptural wisdom, cutting-edge communication research, and compelling insights from everyday life in a highly engaging, student-friendly volume."
--Janie Harden Fritz, Duquesne University; author of Professional Civility: Communicative Virtue at Work
"Schultze and Badzinski seamlessly weave together contemporary communication research, the wisdom of Scripture, and the memorable words of Christian sages. The result is a book that not only increases our desire for warm friendship in a digital age but also offers inspired suggestions on how to reach this relational goal."
--Em Griffin, author of Making Friends (and Making Them Count)
"At a time when we as a nation need to discuss important issues such as immigration, sexuality, racial unrest, and deep spiritual longings, we are losing the ability to talk with respect and civility. Unfortunately, social media often adds to our frustration and division. Where can we turn for help? Schultze and Badzinski remind us that the Scriptures and communication theory offer rich advice on how to discuss difficult issues--both face-to-face and through social media--in order to help interpersonal relationships flourish. Their insights are practical, wise, and much needed in today's divisive communication climate."
--Tim Muehlhoff, Biola University; author of I Beg to Differ: Navigating Difficult Conversations with Truth and Love
"This book is disturbing--in all the right ways. No matter how good you think your relationships are, be prepared to come away convicted, recommitted, and passionate about making them even better. If your relationships need restoration, hope fills these pages."
--Robert Woods, Spring Arbor University
"Well researched, accessibly written, biblical in its wisdom, and practical in its advice. I gladly recommend this book as a rich resource for learning to build real community through effective communication."
--Larry Crabb, NewWay Ministries; author of The Marriage Builder
About the Author
Quentin J. Schultze (PhD, University of Illinois) is professor emeritus of communication at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and CEO of Edenridge Communications. Schultze has been quoted in major media including the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, US News & World Report, the New York Times, Fortune, the Chicago Tribune, and USA Today. He has been interviewed by CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, and NPR and is the author of many books, including An Essential Guide to Public Speaking. He blogs at www.quentinschultze.com. Diane M. Badzinski (PhD, University of Wisconsin) is professor of communication and chair of the department at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Colorado, where she teaches interpersonal communication, nonverbal communication, cross-cultural communication, and research methods. She received the Outstanding Affiliate Faculty Award for contributions to Spring Arbor University's online master of arts in communication program and writes regularly on communication topics.
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This critical subject is addressed in a new book, An Essential Guide to Interpersonal Communication, co-authored by Quentin J. Schultze and Diane M. Badzinski. Designed to be used in an academic setting, it addresses the full scope of interpersonal communication in an age of rapidly changing technologies. The authors state:
"We have written this book to help people practice the enduring essentials of interpersonal communication in the age of social media and through the lens of Christian wisdom. Our book is a practical and inspiring guide to being a faithful as well as an effective communicator in today's multi media world" (x).
The book, a short 8 chapters and 127 pages, utilizes a theme to guide the reader through each chapter. Each theme is meant to offer both admonishment to change poor habits of communication and encouragement to fulfill and improve in areas where we may already be strong. The book is full of keen insights on the contemporary state of communication.
Two chapters stood out as especially beneficial to me as I worked my way through this book.
Chapter two, entitled "Listen Attentively," drives home the point that very often, lost in the foray of modern technology, we have the misguided belief that with all of our modes of communication, we are communicating at a high level today. Nothing could be further from the truth. According to Schultze and Badzinski, the most important element of communication is listening. They point out that listening to both God and neighbor are critical to all of communal life. They write:
"When we are committed to listening, there is hope for our relationships. When we stop listening we cease paying attention to both God and neighbor, our relationships wither and die" (17).
Of course, if this is true, the majority of communication taking place today via email, texting and Facebook, all lack the most critical element of communication — listening.
But that's not all. Listening in its most basic form is something that any animal can do. There is more to listening than acknowledging that you simply hear what is being said. Perhaps the most important task of the listener is to listen with "intent." The most beneficial element of true communication is listening with the intent to understand. Far too often we listen only to be done with the conversation, or we listen waiting for a chance to speak. True listening occurs when we unselfishly lay aside all distractions and listen with the intent of understanding what is being said. Schultze makes the point well when he quotes Stephen Covey.
"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply"
Single-Task vs Multi-Task
Another beneficial chapter was found in chapter three, which focuses on the theme of "Single-Task." In today's world, the general consensus is that the more you do, the more effective you are. Multi-tasking is the way to go. With the plethora of new technologies, most people feel that they are more connected communally than ever before. Once again, perception falls short of reality. The authors point out that, in truth, rather than creating deeper relationships, modern technology has created a deep chasm in the meaningful relationships we were created for. Intimacy is lacking. They write:
"The jury is in. Multi-tasking is a myth. No one can really do it well. When we think we're multi-tasking, we're actually shifting back and forth from one activity to another without closely concentrating on any one of them" (26).
They go on to say that:
"We overly multi-task because we wrongly equate mere transmission with communication" (28).
The final point in this chapter is obvious. None of the modern-day modes of communication can replace the one way that God intended — face-to-face dialogue with the intent of listening to understand what the other person is trying to say.
The remaining chapters delve into a varying array of contemporary issues regarding communication, all of which I found beneficial. If I had one disappointment with the book, it would be its lack of an exegetical nature to the topic of communication. Scripture has much to say about how we listen. In a sense, listening right is a bridge between the good news of the gospel and faith. The authors could have brought a much-needed biblical balance to the subject, and I sure wish they had.
In conclusion, this book proved to be very insightful. I loved how it addressed the issue of communication in the context of contemporary modes of communication. The book is unabashed in its assertions that modern forms of communication, while beneficial, may actually lessen the depth of true intimacy. I found the book to be more than just an academic treatise on the subject. It was personal in its application and broad in its dealing with such an important subject. I think this book would be an excellent addition to any couple or parent who desires to communicate in a more biblical and beneficial way.
In accordance with FTC regulations, I would like to thank Baker Academic Publishers for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review
Truths such as "We can't really separate ourselves as person from our own messages; we are part of the message not just messengers," are expounded upon in each chapter drawing from biblical teaching without being preachy. Our character is part of our message. Schultze and Badzinsky use this theme throughout as well as the basic premise that good interpersonal communication "ultimately flows from our hearts."
From Chapter 1 about being grateful to Chapter 8 about restoring relationships this book is packed with wise counsel, intriguing tidbits, and enduring, biblically-based concepts. The authors use illustrations such as Jackie who so deeply desired community that she put an ad on Craig's List to hire a family for the holidays, practical advice such as How to Avoid a Hellish Boss, debunked myths about conflict, and invigorating truths about living in mutual forgiveness.
You may not find all the technical terms for interpersonal communication theory, but the practical applications are all there and exceptionally good. You will find a discussion in some aspect of each interpersonal communication theory, but none are academically explained. It isn't needed.
The faith aspect of communicating is the foundation of this book after all God created communication when He first created beings. Although, God's type of communication is in the spiritual realm as well as the physical realm. Schultze and Badzinsky note that to enable that kind of communication, one must participate with soul listening. Not even Em Griffin got so specific with listening. It is not only physically with ears and eyes, but emotionally and spiritually listening, too.
One particularly quintessential key is their slight twist on the Golden Rule of Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, is found on page 83: "Seek friends who are the kinds of persons you would like to be--namely, a blessing to others." Each blessing is outlined in each chapter of the book: Grateful, attentive listener, single task oriented, knowing self, relating openly, encourager, promoting peace, earnest relationship restorer. These are those essential things that promote good, clear, interpersonal communication. How succinct!
I have not been as academic as I could have been with this review because it is written so plainly and so effectively it reminds me of God's admonition to Habakkuk in Chapter 2: Then the LORD told me: "I will give you my message in the form of a vision. Write it clearly enough to be read at a glance. Habakkuk 2:2
I don't see how this message could be made any more clear than what Schultze and Badzinsky have written here. Don't waste anymore time, Christian, purchase this book and invest the time to read it. Along with your Bible study, it will change how you communicate with those around you.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Virtually every human endeavor involves interpersonal communication. Leading Christian scholar and media commentator Quentin Schultze and respected professor of communication Diane Badzinski offer a solid Christian perspective on the topic, helping readers communicate with faith, skill, and virtue in their interpersonal relationships. Designed as a companion to Schultze’s successful An Essential Guide to Public Speaking, this inviting book provides biblical wisdom on critical areas of interpersonal communication: gratitude, listening, self-assessment, forgiveness, trust, encouragement, peace, and fidelity. Given the rapid rise and widespread use of social media, the book also integrates intriguing insights from the latest research on the influence of social media on interpersonal relationships. It includes engaging stories and numerous sidebars featuring practical lists, definitions, illustrations, and biblical insights.
I received this book from the authors in exchange for an honest review.
Relationships are important and that is what this book is about.
The first thing I learned was the importance of the right attitude.
That can be applied almost anywhere. The second thing I learned
is the idea of listening to understand, rather than to respond. (pg. 15)
That is from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. The third
thing I learned is importance of C.S. Lewis and his writing.
These authors are experts on many difference topics relating
to interpersonal communication.