Human beings are relational. That's why the most effective way to communicate is person to person, face to face. The further away you get from this relational interaction, the harder it is to get your message across. Here are three essential ingredients required to communicate effectively to larger groups of people.
"How many times do I have to tell you?" If your mom ever said that to you, it probably was because she thought you weren't listening. And maybe she was right! I've heard it said that when you get tired of saying something, people start getting it. Think about how many times you've seen or heard something before you took action.
Companies spend millions of dollars on advertising. When they're looking at ad buys, one of the things they consider is frequency rates. How many times will the average consumer see the ad?
Sometimes, in our creativity, we strive to be clever at the expense of clarity.
Reports state that each day, an individual can see as many as 10,000 ads per day. Frequency is necessary if you want to get your audience's attention, and it's a key ingredient when you don't have the option of face-to-face interaction.
2. Multiple Channels
Not only do you need to communicate each message frequently, but another key ingredient is using several channels to communicate. Believe it or not, some people just don't have a Facebook account. At the same time, some just don't pick up printed pieces. Frequency also means running the same message in multiple locations.
Make a list of three to five media channels you will consistently use when communicating with your congregation. When your congregants need information, these media channels become their trusted sources.
3. Clear Calls to Action
Here's a quote that I've used quite often to guide me in my communication plans. In 1938, a correspondent said, "It may be better to be clear than clever; it is still better to be clear and correct." Sometimes, in our creativity, we strive to be clever at the expense of clarity. For communicators that are also creative, you need to manage this tension.
When communicating to larger groups of people — or even smaller groups of people who are dispersed — both your messaging and your calls to action should be simple and memorable. A "call to action" is simply the thing you are asking the recipient of the information to do. If your message is too complicated or obscured in creativity, it can cause confusion.
By using these three ingredients — frequency, multiple communication channels, and simple messages with clear calls to action — your communication plans have a much better chance of reaching the intended goal.
Don Wambolt has over 25 years' experience in leading church communications. More