In school test questions check the student’s knowledge. An instructor guides the questions and skillfully contracts them. Once we graduate, and get into the working world, we often don’t have someone who’s asking the right questions, so we end up doing what we think is correct. And without professional guidance, we end up doing the wrong things.
Church communication is difficult. Why? Because the results are rarely felt immediately or the outcomes are controlled by too many different variables so you can’t simply adjust one thing without affecting everything. Many people break a perfectly good system as they try to improve it!
If I were to write a simple test of 5 questions (that’ll shape the future of your church communication); I’d suggest these. TAKE THE TEST:
- Would anyone miss you if you vanished? This is the foundational question to all effective communication. If you’re talking about irrelevant and unneeded content, people won’t miss you when you stop talking. How sad! Good communication ensures someone knows the audience and consistently delivers content that is desired. Every time.
- Are you talking mainly to your congregation? Knowing your audience is not knowing only your congregation (internal). You must also get to know your community (external) too. And your content MUST also connect with your external audience since they’re the pipeline of people who need what you’re offering. Concentrating on talking to only your congregation will almost always lead to decline. How sad.
- Do you get much social media engagement? If you were constantly talking in a room of people, and they never replied or nodded, you’d start realizing there’s a problem. Either 1) you’re talking about the wrong thing, 2) not perceived as caring, or 3) not asking them enough questions. This is the same for your social media. Look at the 3 issues and second-guess your social content. And adjust accordingly to get the most response.
- Are you always editing your content? People don’t want a lot of content; they mainly want you to give them “just enough” for what they’re looking for. Left uncontrolled, communication feels wordy and boring — it drives people to scan or ignore your content. Eventually, they stop paying attention entirely. And it’s difficult to gain their trust and time back. They wander and seek better content elsewhere.
- Does everyone have the same volume? Most churches have many ministries and leaders trying to say many things through the megaphone (all your channels) that you’ve created. If everyone’s voice gets the same loudness, you’re just creating noise. Instead, based on audience segments and event inclusiveness, tier your communication and give the loudest voice to the events that reach the most. Throttle the volume of things that are only relevant to only a few. Calm everything down and they’ll listen more (since it’s probably relevant to them)!