One of my goals this year has been to improve as a communicator. I’ll write later about some of the efforts I’ve taken on to improve in this area of my life. However, I’ve been devouring content and resources in efforts to improve. I came across a great article recently that resonated with me and I’d like to add my perspective to these ideas.
I know that some reading this are thinking, “why do I need to develop as a communicator?” It’s more essential than you might realize. Maybe I’ll write about the reasons why you need to excel as a communicator in the coming weeks. Regardless, here are five ways to improve as a communicator and my thoughts from the article from bestkeptself.com.
Volunteer to Lead
Due to the nature of your role, you lead all the time. You lead a ministry or a division of a ministry. Take a step out there and offer to lead in ways that you haven’t before. This last year I was put in positions to lead in ways that I hadn’t before. On a few occasions, I was asked to lead the our “All Staff” meetings as well as the staff life group I am a part of. There was even a staff led initiative the leadership team developed and I was asked to lead the staff through the initiative. Although I didn’t directly volunteer for these opportunities, I’ve made the resolved to say “yes” to opportunities like these when offered.
Approach a Stranger
Although I’m quite the extrovert, I do feel a little uncomfortable striking up a conversation with strangers. I encounter this when I perform weddings. Often times, the only people I know at the wedding are the couple being married which means I have 2-3 hours of hanging out with dozens of people I’ve never met. The idea is that when we initiate a conversation with a total stranger, it helps us build confidence and become comfortable speaking from a place that feels unnatural.
Watch and Listen
Be a student of communicators. When listening to a speaker, notice how they captured your attention… or didn’t. Notice how they transition from one point to the next or even how the conduct themselves on the stage. How do they use their hands? How do they move? Where do they look? When do they sit? When do they stand? What works well and what doesn’t?
Be Your Own Audience
My best talks are ALWAYS the talks where I’ve practiced. The more I practice, the better the talk goes. Nearly every time I talk, I record it. Oftentimes there is a video that I can go back and watch again and notice the things I need to improve. When there isn’t a way to record, I simply use voice memo on my iPhone to record the talk from the podium where I’m speaking. I listen to/watch every major talk I give.
Make it a Priority
Don’t wait for opportunities. Take the opportunities whenever you can get them. I’ve told my staff that I’ll speak on one of our stages (preschool, elementary, middle school or high school) one to two times every month. I almost always lead baptism classes, child dedication classes and volunteer orientations too. Last year I told our communication director that I’d be willing to host the adult services as often as she would schedule me. I probably hosted 8-12 times in the last 12 months. A year ago I was given the opportunity to speak at our adult services for the first time. In thinking about ways to develop, I told the teaching team that I’d be willing to teach 2-3 times if they’d allow it. Speaking on the main stage is the hardest stage (for me), but every time I do it, it gets easier.
Well, there’s some good ideas on developing as a communicator. All this week I’ll be writing about communicating and how to improve both when speaking to kids and speaking to adults.
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