The other day I drove up to the little drive-thru speaker, paused while trying to make my ordering decision, and a garbled voice asked to take my order. I think. I politely said, “I’m sorry, I’m not quite ready yet”. There was another incoherent reply. After a few seconds, I questioned aloud, “Hello?” and got a “go ahead when you’re ready”. I placed my order and pulled ahead.
It’s difficult to talk to an unknown person. There have been times when I thought I was ordering something fairly simple off the menu and a “disconnect” occurred between me and the person with the headset.
The more distant you are from someone, the harder it becomes to communicate to them. The microphone and speaker system often becomes a huge barrier between your requests and the ultimate order that’s delivered in a closed bag. I’m rarely surprised by incorrect orders.
As communicators, we often get the order wrong too. We must eliminate all barriers and distances between the messenger and the audience in order to have effective church communications.
Get close to your Audience. Here’s 4 ways to accomplish it:
- Know your audience. Effective Pastors know their congregations so they can minister to them. The less known about the people, the better chance of a message that doesn’t connect. As Church communicators, we need to learn every possible detail about the people receiving our communications so we can engage with the group. This is easier inside the church than outside in the community, but it must be done in both places. The more you know, the better the communications.
- Talk to a specific audience. If you’re trying to create a message to “everyone”, there’s a huge risk of alienating someone. Take your entire audience and segment into small unified persona groups. It’ll make it easier to compartmentalize your messages. Start with 2 or 3 segments based on demographics. Call the personas by fictitious names that identify them easily.
- Identity their concerns and goals. For each persona, think about what’s on their minds regularly. What do they need or want? Deliver solutions to their concerns and paths to their goals: It guarantees that they’ll listen.
- Ensure the message is personalized. Don’t just create cool or interesting content. Create content directed at an actual person in the persona group. Communicate to them like they’re across the desk from you. Give them your attention, and they’ll return the favor.
There are people in your community that are placing orders in their minds. They need something and your church has the solution. Ask and listen. Get the order right and they’ll keep coming back to the church for solutions. Imagine! The church may actually be needed by segments of your community! Once you get their attention, you can connect them to Christ.