Influence: Expanding Your Reach Through Social Media, Part 2 of 3
FREDTalks Podcast (Episode 014)
Influence: Expanding Your Reach Through Social Media, Part 1 of 3
FREDTalks Podcast (Episode 013)
Understanding the Importance of Communication Savvy
Perhaps the two most important aspects of most information-laden professions and leadership in general are (1) becoming a strong writer and (2) becoming a strong speaker. This is because of the importance and priority of communication and its central role in leadership and life.
Today I want to share what a power communicator must have. There was a resource offered a number of years ago that referenced this concept, but I’d like to unpack these ideas a little more here.
Those of us who put food on the table through our teaching/preaching/speaking think a lot about communication. And as an educator, I spend time considering how to help undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral pastoral and ministry students become the best communicators they can possibly be. I want to bring balance to the issue by highlighting three enormously important issues for communicators and those who train them.
Three Components of Power Communicators
To become a power communicator capable of shaking the earth, three power principles must be mastered:
There are those who sometimes teach or speak who are entertaining to hear, but who fail to deliver the goods. When life (or people, time, resources, business, money, influence, whatever your thing) is on the line, the one thing you must do is put the cookies on the bottom shelf. Meaning, you MUST bring home the bacon; you MUST ring the bell; you must shuck the corn. Whatever analogy you want to employ, it’s crucial that if you’re going to speak, you have something to say. Some people don’t. Others think they do, but can’t produce. Content is an enormous priority for the speaker– in many ways THE priority. Don’t neglect the content. Don’t abuse the message. It’s the only reason you’re really speaking in the first place.
In addition to WHAT one says, however, is HOW one says it. A really common and unfortunate mistake that many ineffective communicators make is to assume that CONTENT (substance) is all that really matters in speaking. This could be a painful statement, but the people who make that false assumption are generally poor communicators. Any strong communicator knows that connecting with an audience is by no means restricted to the substance of the talk.
So, in addition to substance is SOUL. “Soul” has to do with the communicator’s inner man. His or her inner self. The best communicators are able to transcend the limits of language and place their very hearts on display. They reveal primal emotions, potent convictions, and powerful attitudes. They can release the best of their personhood and vitality in the moment of truth. They have such a command of their ‘selfhood’ and security in their identity that they are able to project whatever their subject calls for: authority, passion, motivation, intimacy, compassion, angst, inspiration, humor, gratitude– whatever it may be, to their listeners– making them feel and think and want to do the same thing. Without soul, we’re only talking heads. Without soul, we have no heart. Without soul, we’re old news– we’re just another tired talker, but not a power communicator. Release the fullness of your best self when you step onto the platform or when you stand in that sacred desk.
Substance is a must. Soul is indispensable. But your speech must also sizzle. After you’ve done the hard work of study, reflection, hermeneutics, exegesis, research, thought, meditation and speaking prep, if you are incapable of bringing the heat, you will likely lose many of your listeners. So it’s not only what you say, but how you say it. It’s not just being an effective speaker and having a handle on grammar and syntax. It’s also making sure that you have a powerful command on vocabulary that you can draw from at a moment’s notice in order to paint a masterpiece to your audience or the congregation.
Can you make it “SING?” Can you allow the Spirit of God to breathe life into that dry manuscript and make the bones live? When you speak, does it pop? Does it happen? Does it thrill and excite and stimulate the learner. Does it force the listener to think, feel, and act? The best speakers have a near hypnotic command of their audience in such a way that the person loses all track of time and, as you speak, their hearts burn within them. Though, in Christian speaking, the power of God sometimes falls on a situation, to be sure– but do not confuse that supernatural act with the need for personal effort in selling what you say with a little sizzle.
When Life Beats You Down
When you feel this way, I suggest that you determine whether what is happening is (a) God (b) Satan or (c) a little of both- – and, hint, it’s probably “c.”
So this is a necessary part of making us 100% man. As you know, lots of guys who are 20, 30, even 40– are older, but they’ve never become men yet. So God places an opportunity before you. If we face it down, handle the pain and push through– then we become all He’s made us to be, and when the opportunities come– we meet the challenge and capitalize and rock it. So, opportunity WILL COME- the question is, will be ready for it when it happens?
So work hard at eating these challenges and the pain, and use the pain as fuel and allow it to capitalize and strengthen your inner being. You’re tough on the outside– you can take tons of punishment. So IF God’s doing it, then it’s for your good.
Now, remember 1 Corinthians 10:13. I’d read that. Basically the point of it is that God promises never to let us face more than we can bear. So know that IF you have these problems you’re facing– then you already know that God has determined that you are strong enough to overcome it. But that doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to win and learn all you should. God will let you make mistakes and fail sometimes, as you know. But Satan is given sometimes the opportunity to work you over.
Now, while God means it for good, Satan wants to spank you and to discourage you and to cause you to settle for second (um, third, even fourth) best. These are the years that many people get the beat down– and if… IF– watch that, “IF” you can push through the pain, the disappointment, the hurt, and the frustration… and IF you make the decision to stubbornly refuse to quit and decide to get up every time– then the forces that want to force you to settle will ULTIMATELY submit. And sooner or later, you’ll make it through the woods and out of the desert. And when you do, you’ll have a type of unstoppablity that few experience.
So, it’s all in how you approach it.
- People don’t follow people they don’t like
- People generally follow people they do like
The answer isn’t the Mr. Nice Guy Dale Carnegie Solution: to ditch your convictions and to become a spineless wimp who believes nothing, has no opinions, and who only wants acceptance. You know, the Chamber of Commerce Guy.
But being a person of conviction doesn’t mean you need to earn a (D.D.) Doctorate of Disagreeability to “PROVE” just how much conviction you really have. Lots of leaders are so interested in COMPETENCE and IQ that they have no CHEMISTRY and EQ (emotional quotient). Good social skills are woefully lacking in many a leader and interpersonal interactions are half of our jobs as leaders.
I regularly work to evaluate my own likeability. Sure, people misread you and I sometimes– but that’s life. We can’t lose sleep over those who might assign false motives to us or have some kind of an axe to grind. But we can work to make the most of every opportunity to be our best selves because that’s the one that influences others.
The cultivation of a person’s identity, cumulatively~ over time, results in the formation of one’s persona. This persona is the fundamental basis from which someone thinks, feels, and acts (lives).
For this reason, an impaired personality (viz., a dysfunctional person) remains necessarily and existentially ‘lost’ and until that person can find himself, he remains incapable of being truly happy, healthy, whole, and holy. This leads to the pitiful phenomena of a person being estranged within his own existence. This possibility may sound strange but is, I believe, a common reality for a large portion of society, Christian or not.
However, the one who has plumbed the depths of his haunted self, when guided into the light of selfhood by the truth of God’s Word & Spirit, ultimately (and progressively) finds himself. This liberating reality infuses such a person with a profound sense of identity. It is this (and only this) transformed individual who is able to shrug off the insecurities and limitations of the empty self to finally begin to become all that God has made him to be.
Show me a person like this, and I will show you a man (or woman) of profound power and personal presence. This is where God wants to transport all believers, but most are (apparently) too fearful of their haunted and misunderstood humanity or are too in love with the illusion of godless liberation to ever be truly liberated.
“For where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” 2 Corinthians 3:17