June 25, 2008
Messages–we preach them every week. We hear them on our cell phones. We try to get our message across to our staff members day after day. We even spend lots of money on nice printing, put hours into coming up with just the right examples or download some snazzy video that hopefully, will catch their attention. Sometimes, it works, other times it’s like they didn’t hear a word we said.
When it comes to messages there are some great communication theories with clever analogies of message senders and message receivers and the distortion that can happen in between. It’s interesting stuff. Really…but theories can be quite dry when you’re pretty sure it’s just that they’ve got something clogging their ears. Here are four tips to help you get your message across to whatever audience you are working with…
1. Have a message worth sharing–Ok, I know I’m talking to pastors here so this should be an easy one. Yes, your message is worth sharing, but take this a step further. Having a message worth sharing means you should look at what you are trying to get across and boil it down to the heart of the message. Think how your message would read if it was a front page story. The headline and the first paragraph would have the most important information, then the rest of the story builds on that. Giving all the facts is not nearly as effective as giving the most important ones and then reinforcing them with the details.
2. Give them a “next step”–I’ve heard pastors give great sermons, but fail to provide a next step for people to take. That doesn’t just mean an altar call, though that’s important to provide. It also means thinking about what questions people might have. For example: If you’re teaching your staff about the importance of integrity. Don’t just say, “You’ve got to have it.” Answer the question, “How do I get integrity?” by giving some examples of how you or someone else built a lifestyle of integrity. That’s giving them a “next step.”
3. Tell them again–It’s the principal we learned for writing school papers. Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Then, tell them. Then, tell them what you told them. Reiterating the value and the heart of what’s important. This helps them retain what is so important about what you are telling them.
4. Genuinely care–We are in the church, so you’d think we’d have this down. Didn’t Paul say that if we don’t have love we’re like a noisy gong? Well, the principle applies to communications too. You can have the most fabulous message, presented in the most dynamic way, but if you don’t genuinely care about the people you are communicating with, then that’s what you’ll communicate the most. A great message from someone who doesn’t care is like giving someone a drink of their favorite hot tea without a cup. They might get the message, but they weren’t able to receive it as nearly as well as they would have if you’d included it in a cup of genuine love.