Leadership comes with a microphone.
Communication is part of the job, whether you lead a small team, an entire organization, a church, or anything in between.
So what’s the purpose of communication?
The Ingredients of Communication
All communication is a combination of information and presentation.
What we say and how we say it combines to create communication.
Both are important.
INFORMATION: What we say is important. We should always communicate important information, but the information is not the point.
PRESENTATION: How we say it. We’ve all sat through presentations full of good content presented in a way that negated the content. It’s challenging to listen while sleeping.
Both are important, but neither is the point. Yet, both can derail the point.
We can get so focused on what we are saying or how we say it that we forget WHY we are saying it.
Why Do We Communicate?
Why we speak should define what we say and how we say it.
To say it another way, our why should drive the information and presentation.
I’ve been a leader in the marketplace and church. Church leadership presents the clearest example of potential poor communication.
A PREACHING EXAMPLE: With preaching, it’s all too easy for the theology of a sermon or the presentation of the content to become the focus of the process. Most pastors spend an excessive amount of time studying and crafting sermons. BTW, this is a good thing. Great sermons demand great preparation. Yet a sermon with only good information falls short of the real purpose.
The same is true for presentation. A pastor can work and work and work to refine their presentation skill, but the perfect presentation isn’t the point, either.
The Real Purpose of Communication
If it’s not about information or presentation, then what is the purpose of communication?
The purpose of communication is to provide information…
Well-considered, researched, and constructed information is critical to communication, yet information is not the point.
The purpose of communication is to provide information that inspires application…
This is the point of communication. Application is the goal.
As a communication, we are satisfied that people heard something. We want people to do something with what they hear.
Let’s consider some examples:
- Marketing: The goal of your marketing effort is not to present potential customers with information. Sure, some information may be necessary, but information isn’t the goal. The goal is a purchase. It’s application of the information.
- Parenting: If you are a parent like me, when you speak with your children, your goal is application of information. For instance, I have a sophomore in high school. She’s very smart but doesn’t love every subject. When I explain how she could study better for quizzes and tests, my goal isn’t for her to hear the information, but to apply the information.
- Sermons: No pastor would suggest their preaching goal is to fill the heads of their congregation with information. But if you listen to most preachers, it sure feels like their goal is to teach people the Bible, not the Bible to people. The best preaching goal is application of truth, not truth alone.
Just for Us Church Leaders
There’s a reason that application must become our communication focus.
Application births transformation.
The purpose of communication is to provide information that inspires application that births transformation.
As a preacher myself, I’m always trying to move people to act, not simply listen. Active steps of application is what God uses to transform our life. It may begin with information, but information without application negates transformation.
Your Key Communication Question
No matter what you’re preparing to communicate, you must answer this fundamental question: What should people do with what they’ve heard?
You’re not ready to communicate if you can’t clearly answer this question.
A Possible Next Step for You as a Pastor or Leader
“Gavin has been incredibly helpful serving as a teaching pastor at our church and helping develop our communicators. He truly has a gift for extracting relevant, helpful message and series content and helping our communicators do the same.” – Chris Patton, Senior Pastor, Southside Church – Peachtree City, GA.
Embrace the real purpose of communication today, and watch how your words transform into actions.
Until next time,