The habits of highly effective church communicators are regularly practiced in churches so they become routine. We don’t know what the year will hold, but I can guarantee one thing: You’ll need to hone your communication skills.
People are listening less and less.
The digital age is changing the way information is received. Habits of highly effective church communicators must take into consideration the increased noise level of communication and reduced attention spans. As a protection mechanism to field the messaging bombarding them, people screen information by ignoring it (not listening or daydreaming while physically present).
Here are seven habits of highly effective church communicators to help solve this issue:
1. Focus on them, not you. This is how being known for love acts. Pay attention and listen to your audience, focusing on solutions from their vantage point rather than a description of what you have to offer them. They will sense the subtle shift and listen more.
2. Watch trends and adjust. Use your ChMS (Church Management System) and demographic data to identify how internal and external audiences are changing. Use this information to adjust — not by changing the biblical message, but by adjusting methods, timing and ministries.
3. Provide benefits. To truly love an audience (like Jesus commanded), you need to identify needs, concerns and goals and then provide solutions, controlling language so they understand and receive them as benefits.
4. Control keywords. If you tell people too many things, you risk them not remembering anything. Instead, limit messaging to sought-after keywords so more will connect. Plus, Google will become your biggest evangelist through Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
5. Use the right channels. There are numerous communication channels and tools available, many of which are free. So which do you choose? The ones your audience chooses. Beware: Don’t take on too many or you’ll do none of them well. Only participate in what you can do well.
6. Calm messaging. Don’t add to perceived communication noise; your audience will ignore what you say. Instead, limit messaging to associate all ministry news and church promotion to a simple, memorable and easy-to-use thread. Then you can say less so they listen more!
7. Use video. Research demonstrates most people prefer stories and information delivered in video form over every other. Perhaps why YouTube is the second most popular search engine? Seek videographers for help in constructing storylines and, most importantly, editing. Keep it short.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Mark MacDonald is communication pastor, speaker, consultant, bestselling author, church branding strategist for BeKnownforSomething.com and executive director of the Center for Church Communication, empowering 10,000+ churches to become known for something relevant (a communication thread) throughout their ministries, websites and social media. His book, “Be Known for Something,” is available at BeKnownBook.com.