COMMUNICATION & 6 Ideas That Will Increase It in Your Church

by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D. and the 2017 Missional Coaches Cohort, 2/1/17.

  • Tips for  General Communication
    • Intentionally tell the story of your entire church & its people- what is the common ground that makes you call Powell home? How do you communicate the same to your congregation & your community?
    • Streamline and prioritize your message. An average person sees 14,000
      advertisements per day- make yours have an impact!
    • Develop “communication guidelines” that all ministries use for communication.
      • Include appropriate language
      • No Christian-ese, using “youth” or “students” exclusively, etc.,
      • Watch length, graphics, font, etc. to create a streamlined experience.
    • Create a timeline of when information needs to go out, so that announcements do not overlap or become cluttered. Know how often your church (and all its different ministries) are sending information out.
    • Check your engagement analytics regularly to gauge effectiveness during culture shifts. A person needs to hear something 7-12 times in a variety of ways before they “get it.”
  • Bulletin
    • Choose the most important items that the congregation needs to know
    • Make them visually appealing and uncluttered, especially new guest information
  • Social Media
    • Utilize your social media platforms regularly (schedule posts ahead of time)
    • Use social media for story-telling instead of solely marketing. This makes your web presence more appealing and informative to a new guest.
      • eg. Feature posts from a past event,
      • or member experience,
      • or “behind the scenes look” instead of marketing for events.
    • Engagement goes up (and more people are made aware of your church) when people who are already connected share posts from your page- so make your posts “share-worthy!”
    • Engagement rates are 18% higher on Thursdays and Fridays, and higher
      engagement occurs when posts/emails are made/sent in the early afternoon.
  • Group Texting
    • Group texting services (such as “EZ Text” or “Remind”)
    • Are great ways to keep “insiders” in the loop on sign-ups, short reminders, volunteer opportunities, etc.
  • Email
    • 66% of marketing emails are opened on mobile devices. Is yours mobile-friendly?
    • Keep the subject line short & catchy (30 characters or less)
    • The average person will spend 2-3 minutes opening emails on their mobile phone at a time- less is more!
  • Church Calendar
    • Be sure the church calendar is easily found (digitally preferably) and up to date.
    • Check language to be new guest friendly (times, locations, descriptions, etc.)
    • An online calendar should be available to everyone (but only editable by a select few).

© Bob Whitesel DMin PhD & MissionalCoaches.com #PowellChurch

COMMUNICATION & 5 Ways to Motivate a Team

The 5 Communication Habits All Leaders Need to Motivate a Team” by Marcel Schwantes, Inc. Magazine, 1/18/17.

A global leadership study revealed that 85 percent of companies reported an urgent need to develop employees with leadership potential.

For this conversation, I’m going to simplify the practice of great leadership communication down to 5 principles.

1. Communicate in “we” rather than “I” or “you” language.

As a leader, you may not be consciously aware of the role language plays. It can build up or tear down your tribe. There are things you may choose to say that will either empower or disempower.

There are certain “I” or “you” statements you want to avoid, as it may come across as critical or bossy, as if employees are there to serve you and your needs, instead of the reverse. (If servant leadership is a new business concept for you, start here)…

2. Communicate with radical honesty…

Their HR team put together a Crucial Conversations®training that is rooted on radical honesty to step up and handle high-stakes issues to improve company-wide results.

Results were dramatic. Teams reported better synergy and team unity, and found new ways to help each other. Their sales team used the learned skills to drastically improve interactions with customers.

3. Communicate with the aim of developing trust first…

In his phenomenal book The Speed Of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey says that a team with high trust will produce results faster and at lower cost. But should you first earn the trust of your people? Or does trust develop from having a belief in your people first — their strengths, abilities, and commitment?

In other words, which of these two statements would you agree with?

A. Trust is something that people must earn.

B. Trust is something that should be given as a gift.

If you chose A, you’re in the majority. Conventional thinking says that people have to earn trust first, and if they violate that trust, it becomes difficult to earn it back, right? But if you selected B, pat yourself on the back. It has been found that, in healthy organizations, leaders are willing to give trust to their followers first, and they give it as a gift even before it’s earned.

4. Communicate through regular praise and recognition.

Did you know that receiving recognition is the most important performance motivator? It’s also a powerful way to get employees motivated

The companies in one large Gallup study that displayed the highest engagement levels use recognition and praise as powerful motivators to get employee commitment and loyalty.

Praise should be given once per week.

5. Communicate the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Companies with leaders who “sweep things under the rug” will eventually be exposed as not trustworthy. The flip side is transparent and truth-telling leaderswho will explain current realities and bring everyone into the conversation for unity. Such leaders will win hearts and minds of loyal employees.

Read more at … http://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/first-90-days-communication-habits-all-leaders-need-to-motivate-a-team.html

PREACHING & 11 Tips From the Best TED Talks Speakers

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: In the communication portions of my courses (as a missiologist, they all have a communication segment) I often play TED Talks that serve as examples of reliable/valid communication theory practiced well. Here is an Inc. Magazine article that similarly highlights communication tips from some of the most popular TED talks.

11 Public Speaking Tips From the Best TED Talks Speakers

by Jeffrey James, Inc. Magazine, 7/26/16.

There’s no question about it: TED Talks have raised the bar sky-high for what’s considered a memorable and compelling business presentation.

That being said, there are a handful of TED Talks speakers so talented that they almost make the rest seem dull and uninspired.

What makes them so special and popular? It’s not just their subject matter, although that obviously plays a role.

Here’s the secret: what the truly great TED speakers do differently from the rest can be found in the first few minutes of their presentation.

And that makes sense if you think about it. It’s during the opening remarks that the audience sits up and pays attention… or reaches for their iPhones.

With that in mind, here are five of the most popular TED Talks speakers (as measured by page views), with the techniques they use to enthrall their audiences.

To see the techniques in action you need only watch the first two minutes of the TED Talks embedded below. (Although they’re definitely worth watching in their entirety!)

1. Sir Ken Robinson

TIP No. 1. Use self-deprecating humor to lower barriers.

Unlike many other TED Talks speakers, Robinson doesn’t have a dynamic physical presence. Furthermore, because he’s an academic, he must overcome the perception that he’s likely to deliver a boring lecture.

He therefore opens by poking a little fun at himself and at educators in general. By puncturing his own balloon, he makes everyone feel more comfortable and more likely to listen to what he has to say.

TIP No. 2. Tie your experience to the shared experience.

In the midst of his humor, Robinson relates his personal experience at the conference to that of the attendees. This further humanizes him and brings him into the community of the audience.

Robinson establishes such a strong rapport with the audience that he doesn’t need visuals or graphics to make his points. This is a testament to how well he manages to capture and then hold the audience’s attention.

2. Amy Cuddy

TIP No. 3. Get the audience to take an immediate action.

The point of all public speaking is to convince the audience to make a decision, which means convincing them to move (conceptually) from wherever they are now to wherever you’d like them to be.

Cuddy starts by getting the audience to move physically, thereby creating the momentum for the conceptual move she intends them to make. This is a more creative take on the “show of hands” opening that less-talented speakers use.

TIP No. 4. Create a sense of suspense.

In her first few sentences, Cuddy also promises the audience they’ll be learning something important later in the presentation. This causes the audience to pay attention lest they miss the promised nugget of wisdom.

Note how cleverly Cuddy intermingles Tips 4 and 5! The suspenseful promise lends additional meaning to the movement, while the movement helps “lock in” the importance of the promise…

5. Dan Gilbert

Tip No. 9: Start with a startling fact or statistic.

Gilbert introduces his TED Talk with an unexpected fact that’s immediately relevant to his overall message, and uses contrast (20 minutes versus two million years) to frame that fact, thereby making it seem more vital.

Startling facts grab the attention of both sides of the brain. The neurons in your left brain signal “Yay, here’s a fact to remember!” while the neurons in your right brain signal “wow, that’s really weird!”

TIP No. 10. Use visually arresting graphics.

Gilbert immediately reinforces the startling fact with a graphic of two skulls that reinforces and strengthens both the informational content (for the left brain) and the emotional content (for the right brain).

By simultaneously hitting both sides of the brain, Gilbert completely captures the imagination and interest of the audience, even though he’s only 30 seconds into the presentation.

TIP No. 11. Simplify, simplify, simplify.

This is true of all great TED Talks speakers but particularly true of Gilbert, who is a master at reducing complex ideas into easily understood chunks of content.

Indeed, if you watch any great TED Talk, you’ll notice at once that speakers neither “drill down” into details nor take the proverbial “50,000-foot view.” Instead, they simplify without ever becoming simplistic.

http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/11-public-speaking-tips-from-the-best-ted-talks-speakers.html

Read (and watch) more at … http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/11-public-speaking-tips-from-the-best-ted-talks-speakers.html

STORYTELLING & Inspirational Leaders Use Stories to Inspire According to Research

Charismatic People Do These 7 Things, According to Science

Recent scientific studies reveal the ‘secret sauce’ that helps great leaders influence and inspire us all.

by Jeffrey James, Inc. Magazine, 8/15/16.

1. (Inspirational leaders) tell stories rather than relate facts…

Humans use stories to put facts into context and give meaning to random events of the world. Stories create rapport between the storyteller and individuals in the audience and “move” them emotionally to take action. That’s why every great TED Talk contains a story or series of stories…

(Charisma is the ability to influence and inspire others merely by your presence. According to a recent article in The Atlantic,several new scientific studies reveal that charismatic people habitually use the following key behaviors)…

3. They avoid speaking to fatigued audiences.

Charismatic people instinctively sense when it’s the right time to inspire others. The study about sleep-deprived speakers also revealed that sleep-deprived audiences are less swayed by charisma than well-rested ones. That’s why charismatic speakers seldom schedule talks before breakfast or late at night.

4. They express deep moral conviction.

The great religious leaders of history were so charismatic that their followers believed they were touched by God. The same is true, in a more limited sense, of charismatic business people. They’re neither wishy-washy nor namby-pamby. They show by word and deed that they aspire to something greater than their own self-interest…

6. They have broad interests and are deeply curious.

Charismatic people connect more easily because they’ve acquired general knowledge on a broad range of subjects, thereby creating more opportunity to find points of common interest. A charismatic leader responds quickly when other people bring up subjects that interest them. By contrast, specialists are seldom charismatic.

7. They let people hug them.

While charismatic leaders never force themselves physically on other people (which would be creepy), they are open to being hugged and touched. Apparently, many people unconsciously believe that some of the person’s charisma will “rub off” onto them, much like touching a lucky charm.

Read more at … http://www.inc.com/geoffrey-james/charismatic-people-do-these-7-things-according-to-science.html

HIERARCHIES & Why It Increases the Risk of Calamitous Decisions

by Gary Hamel, Harvard Business Review, 12/11.

… the typical management hierarchy increases the risk of large, calamitous decisions.

  • As decisions get bigger, the ranks of those able to challenge the decision maker get smaller.
    • Hubris, myopia, and naïveté can lead to bad judgment at any level,
    • but the danger is greatest when the decision maker’s power is, for all purposes, uncontestable.
  • Give someone monarchlike authority, and sooner or later there will be a royal screwup.

A related problem is that the most powerful managers are the ones furthest from frontline realities. All too often, decisions made on an Olympian peak prove to be unworkable on the ground.

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2011/12/first-lets-fire-all-the-managers

EXEGETE CONTEXT & Why You Must Do It: 2 Humorous Examples from State Farm®

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: In communication theory, context must be exegeted carefully to ascertain the original speaker/writer’s environment and intent. Here are two 30-second videos that serve as a great example, courtesy of State Farm® Insurance.

CONFLICT & When you disagree with a superior, how do you decide whether it’s worth speaking up

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: In almost 30 years of consulting experience, I have found no weakness more prevalent in pastoral leadership than the inability to discuss conflict. This article discusses research-based tools to gracefully but effectively disagree with someone who is more powerful than you.

How to Disagree with Someone More Powerful than You
by Amy Gallo, Harvard Business Review, 6/17/16.

…It’s a natural human reaction to shy away from disagreeing with a superior. “Our bodies specialize in survival, so we have a natural bias to avoid situations that might harm us,” says Joseph Grenny, the coauthor of Crucial Conversations and the cofounder of VitalSmarts, a corporate training company. “The heart of the anxiety is that there will be negative implications,” adds Holly Weeks, the author of Failure to Communicate. We immediately think, “He’s not going to like me,” “She’s going to think I’m a pain,” or maybe even “I’ll get fired.” Although “it’s just plain easier to agree,” Weeks says that’s not always the right thing to do. Here’s how to disagree with someone more powerful than you.

Be realistic about the risks

Most people tend to overplay the risks involved in speaking up. “Our natural bias is to start by imagining all the things that will go horribly wrong,” Grenny says. Yes, your counterpart might be surprised and a little upset at first. But chances are you’re not going to get fired or make a lifelong enemy…

Decide whether to wait

After this risk assessment, you may decide it’s best to hold off on voicing your opinion. Maybe “you haven’t finished thinking the problem through, the whole discussion was a surprise to you, or you want to get a clearer sense of what the group thinks,” says Weeks… “It’s also a good idea to delay the conversation if you’re in a meeting or other public space. Discussing the issue in private will make the powerful person feel less threatened.

Identify a shared goal

Before you share your thoughts, think about what the powerful person cares about … You’re more likely to be heard if you can connect your disagreement to a “higher purpose.” When you do speak up, don’t assume the link will be clear. You’ll want to state it overtly, contextualizing your statements so that you’re seen not as a disagreeable underling but as a colleague who’s trying to advance a shared goal…

Ask permission to disagree

This step may sound overly deferential, but, according to Grenny, it’s a smart way to give the powerful person “psychological safety” and control. You can say something like, “I know we seem to be moving toward a first-quarter commitment here. I have reasons to think that won’t work. I’d like to lay out my reasoning. Would that be OK?” This gives the person a choice, “allowing them to verbally opt in,” says Grenny. And, assuming they say yes, it will make you feel more confident about voicing your disagreement.

Stay calm

You might feel your heart racing or your face turning red, but do whatever you can to remain neutral in both your words and actions…

Validate the original point

After you’ve gotten permission, articulate the other person’s point of view. What is the idea, opinion, or proposal that you’re disagreeing with? Stating that clearly, possibly even better than your counterpart did, lays a strong foundation for the discussion. “You want your counterpart to say, ‘She understands.’ You don’t want to get in a fight about whether you get her point,” Weeks explains.

Don’t make judgments

When you move on to expressing your concerns, watch your language carefully. Grenny says to avoid any “judgment words” such as “short-sighted,” “foolish,” or “hasty” that might set off your counterpart; one of his tips is to cut out all adjectives, since “they have the potential to be misinterpreted or taken personally.” Share only facts…

Stay humble

Emphasize that you’re offering your opinion, not “gospel truth,” says Grenny. “It may be a well-informed, well-researched opinion, but it’s still an opinion, [so] talk tentatively and slightly understate your confidence…”

Acknowledge their authority

Ultimately, the person in power is probably going to make the final decision, so acknowledge that. You might say, “I know you’ll make the call here. This is up to you.” That will not only show that you know your place but also remind them that they have choices, Grenny says. Don’t backtrack on your opinion or give false praise, though. “You want to show respect to the person while maintaining your own self-respect,” says Weeks.

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2016/03/how-to-disagree-with-someone-more-powerful-than-you?utm_campaign=harvardbiz&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social