I arrived at school this week to fetch my kids. Like all the other moms and dads waiting in the car park, I was wearing sunglasses and a mask. I got home a little depressed because it felt like the other moms and dads no longer wanted to be friends and had lost the ability to make eye contact and small talk.
Some of the best public speaking advice I’ve ever been given is this:
Do more than communicate. Connect.
I think it’s brilliant advice for life in general.
But maybe, like me, you’re struggling to communicate at all, never mind connect, because of this weird masked ball to which the whole planet is invited. (But with hand sanitizer. And minus the champagne.)
Maybe you’re realising your hearing isn’t quite what it was and you’re missing the major advantages of lipreading and interpreting facial expressions and you’re wishing you could speak everybody’s mother tongue.
We’ve all pretty much settled into the rhythm of the truth that we’re going to be wearing masks for a while yet.
So I’ve been asking God for wisdom:
How do we transmit positive vibes but no virus?
How do we maximize the unique opportunities and constraints of these days and still win others over for the sake of His Name and how do we keep believing and keep inspiring others to do the same?
How do we live this season well, communicating AND connecting?
Some thoughts –
1 Speak up.
Simple as that, whether it comes naturally or not. Project from your diaphragm. It’s exhausting but we’ll get fitter for it.
2 Speak well.
Now more than ever, don’t waste your words. Speak life and truth and hope and only what’s necessary to build others up. Every breathing soul needs encouragement, even if their masks and sunglasses make them look grumpy. And the bonus, Solomon tells us, is that those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
3 Don’t hide.
Resist the urge to disengage. Resist the urge to stop making an effort in the direction of other humans you encounter (who aren’t really as grumpy as they look). The world needs us to bring our very best selves to this party.
4 Believe the best.
The crucible of this time has wrought some lovely blessings. But still, we’re all grieving the loss of something or someone. Plato nailed it when he said, ‘Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.’
I’m keeping on keeping on taking the next deep breath, alongside you.
. . .
Happy weekend, friends.
My novel, Breathe Between the Lines, releases this week!
If you’re in Gauteng, you’re invited to our sanitized, socially distant, 100% COVID-compliant launch! I’d love to celebrate with you next Saturday! Swing by for a quick chat (#BreatheBehindYourMask), and get yourself a superb coffee, and a book I hope you’ll LOVE.
Saturday 18 July 2020
Any time between 9h00 and 13h00
Maverick Coffee (close to Checkers), Parkview Centre, Garsfontein Road, Pretoria
CASH and SNAPSCAN
(Limited stock of all my other titles will also be available at launch-special prices!)
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Here’s what’s on the menu if you’re reading this in an email: