Every youth minister wants to engage the next generation. One of the best ways to do that is through the way you communicate. However, mastering the art of communicating is not easy.
While some people are natural communicators, everyone has to work at it. And even if you aren’t the most gifted here are 7 tips that will make you a better speaker:
TIP #1: GET TO YOUR POINT
When a message rambles on too long it’s easy for your audience to forget what you are even trying to say. Three questions I’ve learned to ask before writing a message are:
- What do you want people to know?
- How do you want them to feel?
- What do you want them to do?
Essentially, you are creating a vision for your message. People should feel what you are saying, and clear on what it is you are commissioning them to do.
TIP #2: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Speaking to a room of middle school students is different than a room of high school students. You can’t assume teenagers are exactly like you when you were their age.
Teens will connect with different analogies and references. They have a different attention spans and require a different energy than adults.
You also need to know what owns their life. What are the worries, concerns, and the temptations that demand their attention? When you know your audience you’ll know how to connect with them.
TIP #3: PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS
You might be funny, a good story teller or someone who can explain complex theories. Be that person. Don’t embrace a style because you see other people use it successfully. Know where you are gifted and work on it.
While it’s good to learn from others it’s more important to learn what you do well. When you play to your strengths you project authenticity. People want the real you.
TIP #4: GET INPUT
You need people who are going to point out flaws in your message that you might overlook. Whether it’s an important email or the weekend message send it to people you trust to give you the feedback and insight that will make it better.
If you can schedule a time to rehearse a message or presentation in front of others. Have them critique everything from body language to the inflection in your voice. It might seem like extra work but it will be worth it.
TIP #5: OWN IT AND EMBRACE IT
People will connect with a communicator who loves what he or she is presenting. Passion is something that attracts others even if it’s a topic to which they cannot relate.
Own your message by practicing it and scheduling in the proper time to make it effective. If your audience feels that you care they will want to care as well.
TIP #6: REVIEW IT
While you need people to give you feedback on the front end you need feedback on the back end as well. If you can record your presentations and watch it later like an athlete watches game tape.
Make notes of what is working and what isn’t. Ask others to watch and make comments that will help you improve who you are trying to reach.
TIP #7: STAY FOCUSED
As a youth minister you have a lot going on and it can be hard to spend the time and energy needed to create an effective message. To stay focused remember to:
- Practice so that you can speak through distractions.
- Prepare ahead of time so you aren’t scrambling for notes.
- Build in a routine that gets you ready to speak.
The more safeguards you create around the time that you need to present the more confident of a speaker you will be.
Speaking is an art and it’s something that can be mastered. You just need to work at it and make it a priority because a leader that can communicate can create a movement.
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