Communicator Rater

by Jeanne Godbold

1. You’re talking with friends near your school’s main entrance. A woman arrives with twins in a stroller. She asks how to find Mr. Johnson’s classroom. You . . .

a) say, “Why? Is it lost?” and double over laughing.

b) give her directions and offer to push the stroller for her.

c) say, “Sorry, ma’am, but we don’t allow vehicles in these here parts. The babies will have to walk.”

2. It’s oral book report time! You . . .

a) try to impress everyone by using big words.

b) stand up straight, smile and speak clearly.

c) wiggle your ears and pop your knuckles while you talk so no one will notice that you haven’t read the book.

3. Your friend sends an IM that criticizes a classmate. You . . .

a) copy her remarks and send them to your buddy list.

b) write back that you’re Chief of the Instant Message Police. For violating rule No. 186, she must IM “I am an aardvark” 500 times to her entire buddy list.

c) suspect that she was trying to be funny. You call and remind her that words written as a joke are not always taken that way.   

4. Your best friend tells you that his grandmother is in the hospital. He says he’s worried about her and then stops talking. You . . .

a) look at him and say, “I’m sorry. Want to talk about it?”

b) change the subject, “I hope we don’t have a test in math today.”

c) stand and mumble, “Uh, I have to go.”

5. Your brother’s piano recital and a friend’s birthday party start at the same time on Saturday. You want to support your brother, but you really want to go to the party. When you talk to your parents, you . . .

a) stamp your foot and yell, “It’s not fair! Recitals are boring!”

b) cross your arms, frown and say, “You want me to have fun, right?”

c) ask if you could leave the recital and go to the party after your brother plays.

6. After your birthday, your parents remind you to send thank you notes for your presents. You . . .

a) send emails to those whose addresses you have and forget about the rest.

b) phone every gift-giver. You tell them you’re saving trees by not using paper.

c) write thank you notes, because the gift-givers spent time and money on your gifts.

7. You and a friend are shopping for video games when your cell phone rings. Your mom says she’s in front of the store to pick you up. You . . .

a) say “What? What? I can’t hear you!” and hang up.

b) ask for 10 more minutes to choose a game.

c) pretend the call is from a talent agency and perform your best cartoon character impersonations.

8. You’re in a theater watching a sad movie when a friend text messages you a joke. You . . .

a) tell the audience to put on their sunglasses so your phone’s light won’t bother them.

b) leave quietly and go to the lobby to use your phone.

c) laugh hilariously at your friend’s joke. 

Tally up your points to see how you score:

1. a = 0; b = 6; c = 1

2. a = 3; b = 5; c = 2

3. a = 0; b = 4; c = 5

4. a = 5; b = 3; c = 1

5. a = 1; b = 2; c = 4

6. a = 2; b = 3; c = 6

7. a = 0; b = 4; c = 1

8. a = 0; b = 5; c = 1 

Quick to Speak (below 24 points)

Remember that communication is more than words; your facial expressions and body language send messages too. Before you talk, write or make a face, ask yourself how you would feel receiving it. Just as you want to be treated with respect, your friends and family do as well. Remember that Jesus said, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). You can do it!   

Learning to Listen (25-35 points)

You often take others’ feelings into account, even though it’s hard. When you make a mistake by speaking or writing before you think, just try again. Words can hurt, but they can also bless others. Proverbs 25:11 says, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Choose your words carefully. You and everyone around you will be happier!  

Master Communicator (36-40 points)

Congratulations! You realize that the biggest part of communication is understanding the needs of others. You care about their feelings and understand the importance of honesty and encouragement. You have taken to heart the verse: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10). Keep it up!

This article originally appeared in the October 2008 issue of Focus on the Family Clubhouse magazine. Copyright © 2008 by Jeanne Godbold. Used by permission. Illustrations © Wayne Vincent.