Communicating for a Change, by Andy Stanley, turned out to be a very…informative read. I can’t say it was enjoyable, because it really wasn’t. But I surely learned a few pieces of information that will help me the next time I speak to a large group of people.
My boss, Jerry, recommended this book to me because it really helped him learn how to communicate better. Either he thinks I don’t communicate well, or he thinks that we all have room for improvement– lol. Whatever the case, I’m glad that he did let me borrow it.
Stanley lays out 7 things that he does that he suggests all speakers/preachers do:
1. Determine your goal.
2. Pick a point (what’s the ONE thing you want to communicate)
3. Create a map (how are you going to get there? what journey are you taking your audience on?)
4. Internalize your message (if you have to look at your notes because you dont know what you’re going to say, and you’ve been working on this for days, how is your audience going to believe that you think this is important?)
5. Engage your audience (help it to be interesting).
6. Find your voice (dont just copy others– who did God make you to be?)
7. Start all over (when you get stuck, use the questions- what do they need to know? why do they need to know it? what do they need to do? why?- to get you back on track)
The one big thing I took from this book was that fact that when one speaks, you have to communicate VERY clearly and spice it up– be interesting. When you speak, people will listen to you if they feel that what you’re going to say is relevant to their lives. Speak to what people are dealing with. Speak about difficult topics. Speak about things that are not particularly interesting (and need to be said), but in a way that engages the audience. Who cares if you say something if no one is listening? Jesus spoke to people in a way that they understood. We in turn are to speak in a way that people that we are around can understand. Tell stories in modern day language. Tell parables in ways that are contemporary. Take people on a journey. And communicate ONE idea. Not two, not three. But one. If you have three points in a sermon, make it into a 3-week series. But people often don’t remember 3 or 4 points on monday after your sermon, but they will probably remember one. And isn’t that better than remembering none?
Although I’m not a preacher, and probably never will be, God has given me opportunities to speak at the BSU, and probably will give me more opportunities sometime in the future. So, this is good to add to my toolbox.