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Welcome to our 5 minute Leadership vlog.
Today we’re looking at part two of Communicating Vision. Last week we looked at the methods that we would use to do this (church announcements, opinion leaders, websites, social media). Now we’re looking more at the talk itself. If you’re standing up in front of people, as their visionary, as their leader, what do you need to know?
The first thing you need to understand is that there is a big difference between a visionary and a salesman. A salesman is someone who can get up and make a once-off compelling, inspiring, motivational speech to get people to act. The difference between a salesman and a visionary is the product. What he is selling may not really be any good; the experience may not be good, the salesman himself might not even believe in it, which would mean that the second and third time making that same sales pitch would be a lot more difficult.
A visionary, you are out in front for a lifetime. Each visionary call is affected by the previous one and has a bearing on the ones to come. You’re thinking long term and that’s the difference between a visionary and salesman. A salesman is “one off” – you get them to do something once but a visionary has to bear in mind that he is in it for the long haul. You can’t over-sell and under-deliver. You can’t make false claims, because you’re going to live with them in days to come.
Another thing to consider is that you’ve got to use the right person to make that visionary announcement. A classic mistake was made recently at one of our church sites when advertising Men’s Camp. They picked a guy who was a man’s-man sort of guy – braai, wors, walk around in boots, sort of man. The only problem was that this guy never intended to go on the camp in the first place! His motivation lacked conviction. He didn’t stand up and say, “I’m not going” but he lacked conviction because he wasn’t going.
You have to understand the background history. For example the next time we make an announcement for Men’s Camp, we can refer back to the previous camps and lean on that history and lean on the shared experiences.
You also need to understand the context you’re speaking into. You need to know if you’re calling people to something on a public holiday or if you have different ethnic groups within the audience that you communicating to – you have to understand the various nuances at work. You have to understand the people. Are they wealthy enough to afford what you’re asking them to pay? Do they have transport issues? Do they have other excuses that they will put forward? You have to undo those excuses and you can’t undo them unless you understand what they are.
The most valuable lesson I can give for someone giving a talk is to understand that there are different types of people in the audience – all christians (we’re assuming!), all love your church, love what you’re doing, but are all wired differently. Some are thinkers, some are feelers and some are intensely spiritual. Everybody thinks, feels and is spiritual if they’re in your church, but some people lean more towards thinking, for example.
Jesus understood this. Sometimes when he answered questions he answered strictly on a cerebral level. He said, when he was asked the question about money, “Give me a coin. Let’s have a look. Whose inscription is on this coin? Caesar! So give to caesar what is caesar’s.” That was a very rational response. When Jesus was trying to send out the 72, he told them where to go, what to say, what to take, what to be careful of and what to do when they were rebuffed at the door. That was a very cerebral, very well thought through response. When you’re addressing a crowd, I reckon at least a third are going to be thinkers, so you should put on the lenses of the thinker and say, okay now if I was a thinker… – and look at it through that lense – am I answering the thought out questions?
Not everybody is a thinker, though. Some people are motivated purely by feelings. Does it feel good? Is it good for the family? Does it give me a warm fuzzy feeling? Jesus understood that. Why do you think he told parables? One day there was a man, he had two sons and the younger son said to his dad, “I want to blow out of here. Can you just treat me as if the estate is already wound up; can you give me my inheritance in advance?” The older brother stayed at home and he was working hard. Jesus told lots of stories like that; stories that just get to your heart. When you’re inspiring people, you have to realise some people are thinkers, but for other people you have to put the lense of the feeler on. Is he feeling it, because if you just hit it from the head, you’re going to miss that group completely.
Then there some people in your congregation who are actually intelligent – they have a heart and feel things – but for them to move it has to be spiritual. There has to be a prophesy or a Bible verse. God has to be in it. To those you want to lean into scripture, lean into what God has said already. Jesus understood that a lot of people were wired that way. When he was talking to the religious leaders he said scripture says, Isaiah says. When he healed people off the back of a miracle, he motivated people to do things.
It’s a useful thing to put your lenses on three times before you get up to speak. Are the thinkers’ questions answered? Are the feelers being spoken to? And the spiritual – are they satisfied that this is what God wants? Put those lenses on.