When I think of some of the greatest communicators, I’d never leave out Jesus. He was so captivating he could get crowds of 5,000 plus (no social media!).
I guess the miracles also helped but that wasn’t the sum of why people desired to be in His audience. It’s every communicator’s dream to have a captive audience. When I observe how He communicated there are some communication ‘must dos’.
(You can also read ‘Something Communicators Must Never Forget’ here.) Remember: the essence of communication is that the message sent is ultimately perceived by the receiver as intended by the sender.
Let’s now focus on learning effective communication from Jesus:
When interacting with people, especially from a platform it is easy to fall into the trap of having all the answers. Jesus used questions as one of the means to communicate with people. He obviously knew the answers.
One of the best ways to communicate is not through answers but responding with questions.Questions help us realize certain things for ourselves. Engaging questions in the learning process means the learning process is not a one way street.
When learners are actively involved in the learning process they will remember more. For leaders, asking your team questions also challenges motives. This is one of the things Jesus used.
Questions also help the one (initially) asking in weighing the validity of their questions. Too many leaders ignore the power of rhetoric questions as statements. To enhance your communication, use questions.
Jesus also used a lot of imagery. Because of the eagerness to make a point, communicators tend to cut to the heart. Imagery can give greater impact to points you’d like to make.
Imagery also needs you to understand the context of your audience. When you employ imagery ensure that you do so with a clear understanding of your audience.
Once Upon A Time
Stories are a great way to challenge people or issues without coming across as being ‘too in your face’. Stories are a great way to capture and keep attention.
Capturing and maintaining your audience’s attention is necessary for effective communication. Communication that doesn’t engage the ‘listeners’ imagination will not have any hooks to enable ‘sticky learning’.
Jesus always understood His audience & pitched his communication accordingly. Key to effective communication is understanding your audience. Do your best to understand your audience before (what) settling on how to communicate!
Don’t just dunk ‘the point’ on your audience. Effective communicators build their points to stand. For your point to carry weight and stand, it must be built on a solid foundation.
The build up to your point will determine its impact. Validate the importance of what you’re about to communicate.
To The Heart
Jesus communicated to the heart of issues. He dealt with peripheral issues that stood in the way. Communication can be hindered when we make peripheral issues weightier than the core of what we’d like to communicate.
Jesus never wasted opportunities to communicate something of significance. Every ‘platform’ you get as a communicator or leader must be valued and maximised.
Some leaders leave communication for emails, platforms or few media and underestimate the power of a few seconds at the coffee pot or in an elevator.
Use every object lesson you can find. Don’t wait for a big audience and a microphone to communicate important truths or values in your organisation. Use each opportunity wisely.
What would you add? What do you feel you need to use more of in your communication?