Keys to Communication!

IMG_1240I recently posted on Communication Carries Anointing and emphasised the importance of developing communication skills, both of a conversational and corporate nature. Here are some further tips to take your communication to the next level.

1 Big Idea! All good communication theory emphasises the centrality of 1 big idea. No matter what you are reading or who you are listening to, ask yourself 2 questions, “What is the writer/speaker talking about?” AND “What is the writer/speaker saying about what they are talking about?” In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul is talking about “Love” but in context of 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 he’s saying that love should be the motivation for why we do what we do, especially in the arena of spiritual gifts. Listen and look for the 1 big idea. A great read on this is “Biblical Preaching” by Haddon Robinson.

Clarity trumps clever! A lot of us want to be clever but very few of us can pull it off. However, clarity will trump clever every time. Stop trying to be clever and work hard on making your ideas as concrete and clear as possible and people will connect with them more. Confusion in the pulpit will lead to confusion in the pew. Putting your ideas to paper helps clarify them. A great resource for this is a book titled “Make it Stick” by Chip and Dan Heath (I think).

Anointing doesn’t make up for lack of discipline! Practice, Practice, Practice. Every Friday morning for 2 years I practiced my weekend sermon in an empty auditorium with my parents listening and critiquing my content and presentation.

Tell lots of Stories! Everyone loves a good story. A good story will communicate your principle for you. Learn to tell stories well by finding them in your everyday life and start sharing them with anyone who will listen. The more you tell, the better you’ll get.

Listen to Good Communicators! There are a plethora of opportunities to listen to great communicators. Don’t just listen to be entertained but go behind their communication and listen for how they approached their subject. TED and iTunes is a good place to start. Check out Corey Turner Ministries (shameless plug 🙂

Develop Conversational Intelligence! Read Conversational Intelligence by Judith Glaser and put the principles into action.

Read and Listen! The more you read the more you’ll deposit into your mind a dictionary of words that you can pull out as you need them. Listening improves speaking. Ask good questions and then listen for the response. Log the response away in your heart and act on it at your next opportunity.

Structure your Outline! Don’t outline your notes into paragraphs but develop structure. Write your point and then explain your point, illustrate your point and apply your point. Transition to the next point and repeat the process.

Pray, Pray and Pray Some More! Our words are fruitless without the Holy Spirit. Ask for fresh fire and flow with the leading of the Spirit as you speak.

Tips for Public Speaking

I talk for a job, I talk for my living, I talk for my calling, and there is nothing that frustrates me more than hearing poor public speaking at times when effective communication is required and critical.

I’m writing this as I sit in an event that had a speaker that really struggled and turned me off very quickly.

All of us have sat through speeches at a wedding, funeral, party, church service or significant corporate event and either squirmed in our seat or been captivated by the dynamic or lack of words, ideas and images that poured forth from the individual talking.

When given an opportunity to speak publicly, in whatever capacity, we should consider it a privilege and thus take it seriously. Why? Because for a minute, 10 minutes or an hour we have an opportunity to influence people in one of the most effective ways available to us.

History has revealed to us that speaking, preaching and teaching has been the core vehicle used in every culture to transmit important and life changing information. It’s never going away, no matter how far technology advances. Why? Because someone will always need, require or desire, someone else to communicate to them important information.

If the Gospel is worth communicating, it’s worth communicating well. The letter of Romans in the New Testament exhorts those with the gift of speaking, to speak as the Oracles of God.

How do we speak as the Oracles of God?

Speak after Preparation – Impromptu speaking can work effectively if the individual is very sharp on their feet and has had years of training but 99% of the time you will need to prepare. Time fails to fully articulate all of the insights and principles needed to learn how to prepare for speaking thoroughly but a well prepared talk, speech or sermon is better than an impromptu one. Experts tell us it takes about 10,000 hours to become world class at any skill or task. The best time to start preparing for speaking is now. Read, study, record thoughts and ideas on paper and remember a sermon gets better with age, just like a good wine. Talk out your thoughts and ideas for your talks with a loved one or any passer by that will listen to you. Just talk. The key to great speaking is preparation, preparation, preparation.

Speak with Clarity – If it’s unclear in the pulpit it will be mass confusion in the pew. Work hard to keep it simple and keep it clear. Forget about being clever. People don’t remember clever, they remember clear.

Speak with Passion – Your topic could be on ‘Stamp Collecting’ but if you speak about it passionately, people will listen to you. Passion attracts an audience and people respond to passion. If you’re going to speak, please speak with passion.

Speak with Insight – We don’t need more information, we need insight that will help crack the code of people’s hearts. Insight comes from reading between the lines. Insight isn’t always obvious, it’s never on the surface, it’s hidden and you need to search it out. It requires you to think hard and it requires inspiration. Inspired thinking comes from a real, tangible relationship with Gods Spirit. The Holy Spirit inspires our thoughts and brings to our minds and hearts ideas and revelations that end up in books, sermons and human hearts. Pray for insight, study for insight and record your insights. Why? The world needs them. We’ve got enough unhelpful information. We are saturated with information. We need insight.

Speak into the Context – Speaking to an audience is never in a vacuum. Understand the context of your speaking engagement. The audience, the venue, the expectations, the outcomes and hit the target.

I really believe if you put these tips into action you will become a better speaker and maybe impact someone’s life.

The Oracle!