Welcome to the One Life 5 minute leadership blog.
Over the past few weeks we’ve been looking at how one communicates vision. We started by looking at the various methods we, as pastors, can use: church announcements, websites, social media etc. We then had a look at the actual “talk” itself, and last week we looked at 13 principles that are useful in communicating. Today I’d like to talk about a basic communication model that I bumped into many years ago.
ATTENTION, INTEREST, DESIRE, ACTION
When I was growing up, I remember there being a real estate company which went by the name AIDA. I didn’t know what that meant but when I got to university and studied some communication theory I understood that it was an acronym for attention, interest, desire and action.
If you’re wanting to inspire people to follow through with something, the first thing you have to do is get their attention. You’ve got to cut through the clutter and make yourself heard. A useful tool to do this, is to use contrast – loud against soft, light against dark, dramatic imagery and contrasting word selection. Give your narrative headlines that jump out and catch attention.
Now you’ve got their attention, they’re aware that you’re communicating with them but they’re unlikely to be ready to follow through yet, so now you have to create interest. You have to draw out their interest. You have to engage in communication and conversation and you do this by asking provocative questions, which will make them think and by drawing them into what you’re saying. By appealing to things that interest them and needs that they have, you can draw them into the conversation.
But just because they’re aware and have an interest doesn’t mean that they’re going to go for it! It’s got to move from interest to ownership. There needs to be a desire in them to do it. Create in them a longing to go for it; to say “Yes I want that! I think God has that for me! I think my family would do well going there.”
Obviously we’re asking the Holy Spirit to guide us through this; to give us a voice and the understanding to reach their hearts, and to give us the ability to be able to move their hearts. We’re just the vehicles. We’re trusting that the Holy Spirit gets their attention, captures their interest and then creates a longing in them to move in the things of God in a deeper way.
All of that is useless though, if you haven’t carefully thought through the action that you’re requiring of them. How many good communication exercises have faulted at the last hurdle? Not knowing who to contact, not knowing when the event is going to take place, not knowing how much to pay or what they have to do to get to that particular event will stand in the way of the action.
I saw an advert for an event, at another church, and I said to my wife, “What was that about?” It was incredible cinematography, it clearly had something to do with women, but the mother thought wasn’t even put into play. There was this presumption that everybody knew what this was for. If you are communicating something without giving the action that needs to be taken, you’re just creating an awareness.
This is a useful model to use when you are communicating, whether it’s in video form, newspaper form, a written letter or a talk that you give. Have you got their attention? Have you evoked their interest or are they fiddling on their phones and getting distracted. Have you seen a desire begin to develop inside of them? Once they’re ready for that, call them to action. Send them to sign up. Put something in their hands that demands that they act on what you have called them too.
Leaders have to communicate. They have to, by the very nature of their job description, inspire people to go where they wouldn’t ordinarily go. I hope this has been helpful. Have fun doing it!