Want To Grab The Attention Of Your Teens And Their Parents?

Ever feel like your message is falling on deaf ears? Is it because people are too busy and distracted? Or, is it because you are not intentional with how you communicate?

Youth ministers are communicators. Whether you speak at your program, a training for volunteers or a meeting for parents you need to have a clear and effective message.  If you don’t people won’t be intentional about engaging in your ministry.

Last week while I was at the DYM100, a conference hosted by Download Youth Ministry, Josh Shipp, speaker and teen expert spoke to us about the importance of communicating effectively.

While some people are born with a talent to communicate it, many of us can take it to the next level if we focus on TWO BASIC RULES:


If you cannot hook someone within the first few seconds of your message you won’t get them back when you hit your main points. Josh’s advice was to answer the question:

How do I push them into the deep end of the pool?

This is especially important when you are speaking to teens. What statement, question or phrase can you use to get their attention?

I used to violate this constantly with a brief introduction of myself and then a summary that recapped the previous message and then by the time I hit my point people were no longer engaged.

Josh Shipp suggested that we write out our message and eliminate the first few sentences or paragraphs so that we can jump right into our interesting points and facts.


The more feedback you can get on your communication the stronger it will become. Josh suggested that we should:

  • Send 20-30 people our talks, messages, etc assuming that 1/4 will give you feedback
  • 10-20% should be peers (i.e. other youth workers/communicators)
  • 80% of your potential audience (i.e. teens, parents)

Josh explained that the reason we need feedback is clarify our point of view.

Three questions we should ask our focus groups are:

  1. What was most helpful?
  2. What was confusing?
  3. What other feedback would you offer?

If we can use their feedback effectively we’ll grow in confidence and reach more our audience. Great communicators not only have a great point but they are excellent at making it clear.

If you want more people to follow your lead and listen to your message then you need to make sure your point is clear. Be intentional about how you speak and your audience will respond in the way that you hoped.

Question: What best speaking practices would you offer to someone struggling with their communication? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

If you want to improve your speaking check out Josh Shipp’s resource Youth Speaker University HERE

Josh Shipp also has a new book called The Grown-Up’s Guide To Teenage Humans

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.