Back to the Basics
Before we walk through four questions to help you be more effective, let’s start with what’s really involved in communication. In its most basic form, communication involves people knowing something so they can do something. Both elements—knowing and doing—are essential. For example, think about the sermon in a worship service. Why does the preacher preach? It’s not simply so people know more about God or about their lives. Preachers preach so people can know more about God and themselves and be changed because of it. Whether someone is hearing, reading, or watching, the goal of our communication should be to help them know and then act on that knowledge.
Question #1: “What am I saying?”
Once we understand that we are communicating so people can know something and do something, we’re ready to clarify what it is we actually want to say. Are you wanting to inspire people with a truth? Are you communicating details for an event? Is there an important announcement that your people need to know? Understand what exactly you are saying and don’t let anything else dilute or be added to that message.
Question #2: “Why am I saying it?”
Why does what you’re saying matter? Does it need to be communicated right now? The answer to this question should begin with “because...” For example, leaders and pastors at my church are regularly reminding our teams to park off of our property on Sunday mornings. Why do we do this? It’s because our parking lots are too small and because we want to make space for guests and those that need close parking. Knowing why we are saying what we’re saying makes it compelling and worth repeating.
Question #3: “Who am I speaking to?”
To say what you want to say effectively, it’s important to know your target audience and to address them. Are you really writing an email to your whole church or really for parents with young children? There are times when you may have a message you are communicating to your whole church, and that’s great! But many times we are wanting to inform specific groups of people about specific things and it is important for us to acknowledge that and to address them.
Question #4: “What am I asking them to do?”
This is an important question we often skip over. Effective communication ends with action. Before you speak, write, or post, you have to consider this: What are we asking people to do? What are we inviting them into? It could be a sign-up link, a prompt to comment or reply, or another call to action, but if the goal is helping people know something so they can do something, we have to help them act on what they now know. Online sign-ups, RSVP’s, and landing pages are great ways to help people take an action step online.
Try it out!
Are you ready to start being more clear and effective in your communication? Getting clear on what you’re communicating, why you’re communicating it, who your audience is, and what you’re asking them to do will immediately help you speak, write, and post with purpose and see results.