Former President Ronald Reagan was known as the Great Communicator. That title wasn’t an award, it was just true. President Reagan was optimistic when he spoke, had a quick wit and sense of humor, gave hope, and had a deep belief in what he spoke about. He possessed a natural connection with people that allowed him to speak truth with a folksy wisdom that captured young and old alike. How about you, what distinguishes you as a communicator?
First, I’d like to encourage you with three thoughts about your communication potential as a church leader.
- The size of your stage doesn’t determine the size of your gift. God may have chosen you for a smaller platform but that does not limit your ability to develop your skill. Don’t seek a larger stage, strive to develop your ability.
- The size of your gift doesn’t determine the scope of your reach. The power of prayer will always trump eloquence and skill. Your eternal impact can be greater than your skill when you bathe your communication in prayer.
- The scope of your reach doesn’t determine the value of your ministry. If you never speak to large crowds, you can still rock the gates of heaven with staggering stories life change.
Second, here are 5 questions that give you insight to great communication:
1) Are you are comfortable in your own shoes?
The best communicators are at ease with who they are as a person. They don’t try to look, sound or speak like other people. They are self-aware, genuine, and have found their own voice. Because of this they can communicate with poise, confidence and personal authority rather than insecurity.
2) Do you connect at heart level?
All great communicators connect with people. Their authenticity gains them an innate trust from the listeners. There is no pretense, which will always break a heart level connection. Though the topic may be serious, there is a light-heartedness and sense of humor in their style. This allows them to engage the emotions of the people.
3) Do you read the room quickly?
Knowing your audience is important but there’s more to it. Great communicators have the ability to sense if the people are engaged and responsive. And if this is not the case, they can change their approach in the moment. It might be as simple as slowing down and cutting content, or something more complex like adding a personal story on the fly to recapture the room.
4) Do you make people think?
Jesus made people think. From the Pharisees and Roman leaders to his own beloved disciples, he challenged them with questions, and made them think by telling stories in parable form. His approach was simple but profound. For you and I, there is simply no substitute for substantial preparation.
5) Do you know how to land the plane?
This is the leadership moment, the moment that captures why you are teaching. Be strong, clear, concise and bold. Don’t circle the runway when it’s time to land the plane! Know the point of your message and stick to it. There are two questions that will help your message land in a way that makes a difference.
- What do you want each person to know?
- What do you want each person to do?
May the Holy Spirit anoint your teaching!