Last week we looked at the theory of communication. This week we’re looking at how to employ those theories. Over time, I’ve come across a multitude of ways people structure their communication. Since then, I’ve been able to get an idea of the structures that work, and the ones that don’t. Here’s a bit of what I’ve gleaned about communication practices that bring organizations to the tipping point of success.
- Cast vision and broadcast success, but avoid hype. Over-promising and under-delivering hurts everyone, and it hurts the advance of the gospel. I see some organizations put spins on the message, and I brace. I had an honest conversation with a participant in one church planting organization, and I innocently said, “Wow. It sounds like some awesome things are happening!” He said, “It sounds like it, doesn’t it? But the truth is…”
- Work toward dialogue, not monologue. Poll your constituency to see what works and what doesn’t, and respond to those who care enough to offer suggestions. I once met with an official from Disney and a leader of CBS Radio advertising. Both of them emphasized the importance of feedback. “We poll, poll, poll.” We had one leader who was quite critical of an event we hosted, and he was forthright in his suggestions. Honestly, he made some good points. By responding with a listening ear and implementing some of the changes he recommended, he returned the following year with a posse of a dozen new leaders.
- Engage and empower your influencers to tell the story. Who are the influencers and how can they become town criers for the ministry of church multiplication? Many denominational leaders steer clear of pastors of large churches because they assume that they are too busy to contribute to the broader movement, and this is a mistake. Overcome this chasm by inviting these influencers into the conversation, giving them platforms to multiply your voice. Can they host an event? Can they tell their story in a webinar? Who are the other men and women of influence that can reliably post, tweet, and broadcast?
- Listen. Your ministry will broaden when you seek input from others. Some of the most helpful ideas we have ever received came from “Table Talk” exercises at large gatherings. Seeding questions such as, “What can be improved?” “What can be eliminated?” and “What’s missing?” all create an atmosphere of openness and creativity. Ask those questions in one-on-one conversations, small group gatherings, and at large events. The payoff can be incredible.
What works for you in your communications strategy? I’d love to hear your tips in the comments below.