Technologies change, but the basics of good, true, and beautiful communication remain the same. I explore what it means to communicate wisely and well.
My major research project today is exploring what it means to use communication to serve one another. How can we listen, speak, write, blog, email—and all other forms of communication—with the best interests of others in our minds and hearts? So much of our personal communication is self-serving. So much of society’s public communication, such as in politics and on talk shows, seems to be unkind, even verbally and visually abusive. Here’s the basic idea I’m developing: the purpose of communication is to love our audience as our neighbor.
The Art of Great Teaching
Teaching is more an art than a science. It’s all about relationship, motivation, modeling, and demonstrating. It’s about loving students by serving them wisely and well. I’ve spent three decades learning by doing, and was very honored to receive the Presidential Award for Exemplary Teaching at Calvin College. Now I am sharing my experience with other educators at conferences and through mentoring. Soon I hope to be writing on the subject.
Virtuous Public Speaking
I’ve spoken to hundreds of civic groups, churches, professional conferences, trade associations and the like—audiences from a few to 15,000 people. My latest book is a practical, short, introduction to the the standards of good public speaking—which I call “servant speaking.” The book, An Essential Guide to Public Speaking: Serving Your Audience with Faith, Skill, and Virtue, includes a public website that uses video and audio clips to demonstrate such servant speaking.
Interpersonal Communication in the Age of Social Media
I am co-authoring a book with on how women and men can use communication to flourish in relationships with friends, coworkers, family, and the like. The key concept is “flourishing”—not just getting along or avoiding conflict (some conflict is good). One of the biggest challenges to such flourishing is wisely using technology such as social media.