Internal communication affects your ministry’s external impact more dramatically than you might realize. If you want what emerges on the outside to be compelling, then you should strengthen your internal communication by practicing healthy habits.
Here are a few ways to optimize internal communication, so you will have greater external impact:
1. Formulate and ask a lot of thoughtful questions
To fully understand (and appreciate) the ministry objectives of others, you’ve got to ask some really great questions—questions which stir thinking and stimulate the right discussions. There’s an art to asking questions in a way which leads conversations toward productive outcomes, without leading the team down a predetermined path toward your own agenda. Unless, of course, you actually want to lead them toward your own agenda.
2. Reframe key points within the conversation
You can pivot your conversations toward a more productive destination by simply reframing the questions which are causing you to hang up. When addressing other team members, state what you think you are hearing and then ask them to correct your understanding if you are mistaken. Express things like, “What I hear you saying is …” or, “are you suggesting such and such?” or, “I may be misunderstanding, but it seems like you are saying …, true?” You will be amazed at how well your conversations will flow when you learn the art of reframing them and then regularly discipline yourself to do so.
3. Identify language barriers and define confusing terms
If you find yourself in complex conversations where language is either hard to understand or where certain terms create frustration, you might need to work on your dictionary. Take time to identify terms which seem to trip up the team and then define what you, or others, mean by the terms you consistently use. This will help the team sync up their understanding of what is being said and will help simplify your conversations.
4. Develop frameworks for communicating patterns
If you continually circle around the same questions and issues in your conversations, take time to develop a framework to give the team handles for how they discuss the issues. In other words, craft conceptual frameworks that will help facilitate productive conversations. For example, if you often talk about the term community, then what exactly, do you mean by the term? Map it out visually. Collaborate on what each of your key team members mean by that term. What does community visually look like? I seem to gravitate toward conceptualizing visual frameworks via the whiteboard, because it helps me easily and quickly iterate the concepts I’m trying to understand and communicate.
5. Recognize, articulate and eradicate ambiguities
Through my branding, marketing and communications work at Resonate, I often bump into the reality that ministry leaders commonly allow a ton of ambiguities to exist in their world. In fact, some even find virtue in their existence. One very high profile leader/client even told me that not only is he super comfortable with ambiguities, but he also values when his team is as well. Unfortunately, where ambiguities exist, so do frustrations, inefficiencies and a lack of focus. These often suffocate team motivation. Less motivation means less impact. Learn to spot ambiguities, so you can articulate them to others, and ultimately, eradicate them. Clarity is your friend—so embrace it. Here are some more INSIGHTS about clarity.