I couldn’t believe it when my friend showed me the post-card. “Every six weeks,” she explained, “We get a reminder that it’s our turn to serve in the church nursery.” The problem? They hadn’t been to that church in years! The church had even updated this family’s address in its database, but never caught on to the fact that they had moved two states away.
I vowed to never allow this to happen (actually, I half-jokingly threatened our nursery coordinator to never let this happen). But it also reminded me about ways that I’ve poorly communicated with others — whether volunteers, parents, or other ministry leaders.
If you want to frustrate others with your communication-style, here are some handy tips:
- Completely automate the process. Like with the nursery volunteer described above (or with the fact that I still receive a coupon for a free kids meal from a local restaurant, though we moved 3 hours away), you can completely rely on your computer system to do your thinking. Who needs a human touch to correct errors?
- Don’t automate or delegate. I’m sure your only responsibility in life is communicating with your ministry team. Make sure that the entire burden falls to you, and never delegate. Don’t use technology to help you out; you can’t ever trust it to get done what you want to accomplish.
- Communicate too infrequently. Let people fill in their own ideas. I’m sure what they are thinking is the same that you are thinking.
- Communicate too often, with too much detail. We live in a culture of information-overload. So you had better keep up with the steady stream of Facebook status, Twitter feeds, YouTube videos, blogs, etc., that deluge your team each day. Cram their brains full!
- Only communicate information. All people want is details and to be told what to do. They don’t want to hear your passion and motivation.
- Only communicate inspiration. Details? Nah, we’ll just make it up as we go along. People may get frustrated or lost, but as long as you fill them with encouraging thoughts, they’ll follow along. For a while, at least.
- Contradict yourself. Do the first 6 tips seem contradictory? I hope you see that communicating is more of an art than a science.
Do you know of other ways that you can frustrate your team with how you communicate?