Check out this hilarious video. It beautifully illustrates how ministry and church leaders often communicate. They mumble.
When you mumble in your communication, you seriously strain the receiving parties and significantly increase their listening overhead. Think about it.
The more difficult it is for others to understand you, the less likely they are to buy in and get on board with you. Mumbling erects high communication obstacles that people have to climb over to join up and really own the vision you’ve put before them.
Here are 3 kinds of mumbling that will mess you up and what to do about it:
1. Mumbling to yourself
Sometimes, ministry leaders simply aren’t open and honest with themselves. Sure, their motives are pure, but they often find it very difficult to take a hard look in the mirror and to say what they need to say to themselves.
I know what you’re thinking. Don’t only crazy people talk to themselves? Maybe so. But if you don’t overcome internal mumbling, you may very well drive yourself crazy as well as everyone else around you.
Sure, it’s painful. But if you want to make sure you aren’t mumbling in your ministry, then start by being really honest and clear with yourself. Ask yourself questions like . . . What do I really, really, care about? What am I trying to build? What is God’s vision for this ministry? Do I fully understand my ministry dreams and have I clearly articulated them?
Bottom line: Work overtime to be clear in your own heart and mind.
2. Mumbling to your team and colleagues
The people you are leading desperately want to understand you and they genuinely work hard to do so.
Notice in the video that when people couldn’t understand what Mumbles was saying, they inserted their own understanding, meaning and words into the conversation? If your team and colleagues can’t understand you, they too will substitute their own understanding, meaning and words into the communication vacuum.
Yes, it’s difficult, but clear and precise communication is the bridge that connects and aligns your daily efforts with your vision and purpose. Mumbling only leads to ineffectiveness and conflict.
Bottom line: Don’t assume that your team and colleagues understand you. Clearly articulate what you mean by what you are saying.
3. Mumbling to those you are trying to reach
I recently consulted with a wonderful church in North Carolina to help them further build out and strengthen their brand. One of the things I appreciate about their ministry approach is that they work really, really hard, to not mumble as they speak to non-members in their community.
They are wisely in tune with each and every word they say and they work extra hard to speak in an accessible way.
It’s counter-intuitive, but if you want to be clear for those who don’t speak your language, then help them understand your language. Don’t expect them to just “get it.” Be a good translator and bring them along.
Bottom line: Be intentional about how you communicate with those you are trying to reach. Unpack the meaning behind what you say. Break it down.
Know any ministry leaders who mumble? Do you struggle with mumbling? What are your thoughts about mumbling?
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