What Do You Mean by That?

Proverbs 3:13

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding…ESV.


One of the biggest challenges you will face throughout your life is thoroughly communicating with others. Whether we are speaking with our mates, children, or fellow associates at work, the ability to understand and be understood is one skill highly desired by many in the leadership world.

Johnson O’Connor Research team has conducted studies of thousands of CEOs in this country and have shown that the number one skill most score highest in is the ability to communicate. Even in marriage, the struggle between two people unable to communicate their feelings, emotions, and position on any one topic is one of the largest complaints for divorce and separation.

One key point that we have learned over the years is to fully understand the other person before trying to explain your position. How many times do we make assumptions that later on proved incorrect? However, if we first only began to clarify the definition of certain words, wouldn’t we find ourselves more effective in speaking and writing?

Among our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord, we spend probably more time than anyplace else clarifying the meaning of certain phrases and words that are used throughout the Christian culture. For example, such words as faith, grace, incarnation, salvation, kingdom of God, Trinity, and many more are used interchangeably with a different meaning among us. Before answering or jumping to conclusion, we have found it necessary to draw word pictures or stories to clarify the definition of one word.

Now I am not an English major, nor a word smith, but I know enough that the purpose of words is to communicate a concept or thought.  So, I don’t get bent out of shape when words may be poorly used as long as we both are looking at the same overall picture meaning.

One simple tool to clarify how the speaker is using a word is to ask, “what do you mean by that?” The more both sides have a clearer picture of what is being discussed, the easier you will find a meeting of the minds.

So, like Proverbs 3:13 states, you will find yourself blessed when you get understanding and then the wisdom to apply it. It all begins when you ask, “what do you mean by that?”

Rooting For You in Christ!

Dr. Mike

Encourager & Founder of
Vocational Leadership 360
Author of e-Books:

Dancing With God: Life-Giving Theology Explained
Great Business Emulates a Good God
Be Radical…Follow Christ!
Simply The Messenger
Unequally Married

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