Everyone is a communicator. Whether intentionally or accidentally, we exchange information or news with other humans daily. Early communication occurred primarily by voice, then written language, and now by dozens of channels thanks to the recent explosion of technology.
While methods and modes of communication have changed over the years, the principles are timeless. How are you communicating? Is it effective or frustrating to others?
How many times a day do you communicate? Think about your face to face interactions, social media accounts, text messages, blog posts, phone calls, emails, web browsing, reading, and even your body language. That’s a lot of communication!
As leaders in any capacity, it is vital that we develop good habits of communication. As conduits of the gospel, our role as communicators has never been more important.
While many volumes have been written on proper communication techniques, here are three simple points I’ve observed through many thousands of communication snippets over my lifetime. Let me challenge you to consider these statements as you type that email, dial that phone number, or walk into that meeting.
1. An effective church communicator is Clear.
How many times have you read an article, engaged someone in conversation, or heard a sound byte and asked yourself “What did they mean by that?” Think about this – how much less communication would need to take place if every instance of it was clearly understood? How much time do we spend clarifying misunderstandings?
While I am fully aware that two different people can receive the same communication and interpret it in totally different ways, many times we create unnecessary questions because we are sloppy with our clarity.
[bctt tweet=”A great communicator knows how to minimize confusion and maximize clarity. #communication #ninja” username=”churchhacks”]
Ask yourself “Could this be interpreted in a number of different ways? How can I say this in a way so as to eliminate multiple interpretations?” The only exception to this would be youth pastors because what they say and what they mean are rarely the same. 🙂
2. An effective church communicator is Concise.
Think about how frequently you engage in a predictable conversation with somebody. You know where they are going in the conversation, but they take forever to get there. That 5-minute conversation turned into 25 minutes or more, and it would have gone even longer if you hadn’t cut it off. The conversationalist failed to be brief and comprehensive – they failed to be concise!
As a general rule, the fewer words you can use to drive your point home in a clear, tactful manner, the better. Think of how much more productive we would be if our meetings, phone calls, and other communications were concise! Concise does not mean “abrupt” or “rude.” It means “get to the point, make it clear, and move on.”
[bctt tweet=”A great communicator knows how to be brief, yet comprehensive.” username=”churchhacks”]
Ask yourself “How can I say this with proper tone and emotion, but in the least amount of time?” If you are a “talker,” learn to recognize the point in the conversation where the intended message has been communicated, and then cap it off there. Don’t be that guy or girl that productive people avoid!
3. An effective church communicator is Consistent.
A mixed message is a missed message. As leaders, we must be very careful not to be inconsistent in our communication with others. As tempting as it may be to assign the same task to three different people hoping that at least one of them will follow through, it will destroy your credibility as a communicator.
Have you ever gotten instructions from someone and attempted to follow through, only to find out that the instructor had changed directions without bothering to inform you? When we are lazy and inconsistent in our communication, we project the message that we do not value the people we are engaging.
[bctt tweet=”A great communicator understands that a mixed message is a missed message.” username=”churchhacks”]
Before communicating with someone, ask yourself “Have I given an earlier directive that might conflict with the one I’m about to give?” If the answer is “yes,” take the time to communicate consistently to everyone involved. Your team will thank you!
While nobody is a perfect communicator, we can all improve our communications over time. Did any of these points hit home with you? What frustrations or challenges have you encountered in the realm of communication? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!