Communications begins with eye contact and a smile. That’s the way it’s supposed to happen. Or, at least, that’s what you look for and hope for when you’re in line and finally get to a clerk or an associate in a store, or especially those semi-official people charged with safety and security in airports. Otherwise the words are just noise. Or as Shakespeare said, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Without eye contact, the intended recipient is left to wonder, who me?
And the smile is the gateway to accuracy, diplomacy and static-free reception. It’s like pushing the “send” or “print” buttons on a keyboard. With a simple thing like a smile, the communication barrier is no longer a hurdle that can sometimes lead to a full diplomatic meltdown.
A smile, when you think about it, is really the first meaningful form of communication that parents can appreciate in a new baby. All the rest of it is often something akin to that earlier quotation from Shakespeare – sound and fury.
Paul was probably talking about good communication when he encouraged the early Christians to “speak the truth in love…” (Ephesians 4:15).
Of course, there’s more to it than just that. But it’s hard to imagine that sort of thing without a lot of goodwill and friendliness.