Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Actively Stay On Topic

This one strategy will eliminate nearly every frustration and much of the confusion when discussing the scriptures.

Periodically we end up in philosophical discussions about life. When discussing or debating the merits of the Word of God, with other Christians or non-Christians, why is it difficult to get our point across? 

Be sure that everything is done properly and in order.

Remember the age-old debate about who's responsible in a conversation? Is it the speaker or is it the listener? Who is responsible for a misunderstanding? There are reasons that both can contribute to any confusion. So let's talk about a solution.

There is a strategy we can follow to help both parties in a conversation. It is relatively simple but does require some focus and practice and it cannot be stated enough. It is this: Stay on topic!

The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing. - Proverbs 15:2 NLT

Why Were We Talking About This?

Have you ever been caught up in a debate and before you knew it the topic shifted so many times, and you ran down so many rabbit trails, you couldn't even remember why the conversation started? 

Our culture has promoted a scattered type of thinking that makes it difficult to communicate even simple ideas. If a concept includes multiple ideas, the level of difficulty can increase exponentially. 

Actively staying on topic can help. Certainly there are other effective strategies to communicating, debating and persuading. However, forcing yourself to stay on topic fixes many of the miscommunication mistakes that can occur. 

Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don't get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil. - Proverbs 4:25-27 NLT

Not only can we begin to eliminate anxiety by staying on topic we will also increase retention of what was discussed.

Intelligent, thoughtful discussions can actually be a fun way to bond with others. If we consistently guide the conversation back to the initial topic, disagreements in thought or philosophy can be explored in a friendly, open dialogue. 

It's not necessarily a disagreement that causes problems in a discussion. It's confusion that generally will lead to anger and strife. Minimize confusion by staying on topic.

God is not a God of confusion but of peace. - 1 Corinthians 14:33 NASB

A New Skill Set

First, focus on keeping yourself on topic. It might not seem apparent but it will take some practice. Stating and clarifying the focus of the topic at hand is a great way to start. Take a second to jot down a note if it helps you to remember.

The next step will be to recognize when others stray off topic. You will quickly find that you will have to help others stay on topic as well. Guide them back to the original topic by asking questions. Use something like, "I'm not making the connection. How does that relate to [topic]?"

It's not easy but with a little practice you will find that sharing the Gospel and discussing biblical wisdom and teachings becomes much more effective and really a whole lot fun.

Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. - Ephesians 4:29 NLT
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Take Action!

Remember the last time a philosophical discussion kept getting further and further from the initial topic?
It's crazy. One minute your discussing creation and evolution and before you know it your talking about the latest political issue. Confusion ensues and the conversation fizzles.
It's more fun to stay engaged. Practice staying on topic. :-)
When engaging in a philosophical discussion, clarify and state the point or topic right from the beginning. Write it down if you have to. Then make every effort to stay on topic.
Staying on topic preempts many misunderstandings that can occur as a conversation progresses. Straying from the main topic is the main reason for confusion and generally results in frustration and agitation.
Most deep discussions will begin to go off topic early and often. The longer the conversation, the more opportunity to go astray. 
Continuously guiding the conversation back to the original topic is a huge benefit for everyone. This one strategy will eliminate nearly every frustration and much confusion. Try it! You'll see. :-)

    Please, add your thoughts in the comment section.

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    Concept >>> “Actively Stay on Topic ”
    Next >>> "Salvation, Relationship, Testimony"


    In The Cool Zone concept.

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