Posts Tagged ‘communication’



Churches Often Miss the New Year’s Opportunity

In our culture, a new year still means a new opportunity for change, a new opportunity for new beginnings, new relationships, and a new search for a faith community. Unfortunately, most churches miss out on the first-of-the-year window because they are not prepared for the new people who will show up in the first few weeks of the year. Typically, churches put on their big Christmas musical by the second week in December and they shut down all but life support systems until after the holidays. So as new guests begin to arrive, they are met with less-than-well-put-together services, often scaled-down music programs and, most unfortunately, a three-week stewardship series. Every church needs to teach stewardship, but we must be sensitive to the growth patterns in our culture. The first of the year is one of the top windows to reach to those outside the faith. Think Ahead Let me…

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The Problem with the Fake Blog

“And let’s also add a blog to the new site design,” he said as if it were an afterthought, which I was sure it was. Knowing his propensity for delegating, I probed further, “That’s great. How often are you planning on blogging?” “Oh, I’m not going to write the blog myself, ” he said assuredly, “my secretary is going to take care of that.” Unfortunately, I find myself having this conversation with Pastors and business leaders more and more often. What ensues is usually a long argument about what a blog should or shouldn’t be. Here are some thoughts on the matter: Your blog should be your voice. It’s telling your story or the things you’re passionate about. No one else can do it for you. Are you sure you want your assistant speaking for you? If you have a corporate blog than, it’s a different matter. You can even…

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Churches and the Dangers of Line Extension

Churches cannot grow  strong using a side-door strategy. Side doors are everything else a church does besides teaching the gospel and helping  people grow in their faith. Somehow along the way, church leaders have decided that music concerts, recreation programs, cafeterias, schools, bookstores and even quilting groups were church-worthy pursuits and a proliferation of side-door ministries began to show up in large churches. At the end of the day, none of them, I’m convinced, can grow and keep a church healthy. If the world of marketing, we call this problem, line extension, or the adding of products and services to a brand until it’s diluted and ineffective. A while back I visited a church that reminded me of the dangers of line extension. What started as an outreach ministry of the church years ago, suddenly began to take a life of its own and became a huge resource and energy…

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The Authenticity Trap

Authenticity is the new oratory device of the day for Christians. Self disclosure and complete openness have never been so popular among evangelicals. The days of leaders who spoke from a strong tower of knowledge, holiness, and utter discipline seem to be numbered. Over the past decade I have seen a communication shift that takes speakers and authors from a place of strength and knowledge alone and puts them in a more honest, imperfectly human dialogue context with their audience. I have personally enjoyed this shift. It resonates with my fallen nature and helps me to know that even those whom I admire struggle like I do. Lately I have been concerned with the inevitable abuse of the authenticity device. As the pendulum swings from the bully pulpit of years past into the self-disclosing conversational approach of our social-media rich environment, it continues past center into what I call the…

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Text Messaging and Your Business

Nothing has had a greater impact on how I do business than text messaging. Not long ago, I was on a conference call with someone in Texas, someone in Sao Paulo, Brazil and I was in a car driving through New York City. The conversation sounded clear in spite of the thousands of miles and time zones separating us. However, I believe nothing has revolutionized more the face of business in the last decade since the proliferation of email than text messaging. Just a few years ago, text messaging was seeing as an annoyance designed for teens and not a serious tool for business professionals. But lately, I have seen a major shift in how my busiest clients want to communicate. Some, if not most, of my clients fit into the type A, let’s-get’em-done category. They value getting quickly to the bottom line. They prefer the succinct, and yet effective…

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How I Have Assembled an Awesome Team

We purposely don’t have many sacred cows in the businesses that I run. We adapt and change fast and have become “platform agnostics” so we can server our clients better in a fast-changing business environment. Sacred cows only slow things down and are always self serving. There are three things, however, that we fight hard never to compromise. And if we ever do, we are quickly reminded of their importance and why after all these years, they are still relevant. We call it our 3 C’s. These core values are more than just posters on a wall or words on a website. These helped form the DNA of  these businesses and have everything to do with the environment we create internally. We take our time to hire someone at The A Group, so managing them is an easier process. C is for Character Character is a foundation of any success…

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5 Communication Styles You Need to Know

I enjoy people. I’m the guy who looks forward to a party to meet someone new as oppose to dreading have to walk in a room full of strangers. Most of the time that I find myself in a new situation, I look forward to making new friends. As gregarious as I am, I have learned that not everyone communicates the same way I do–as a matter of fact there are several different “communication languages” my clients and friends use for their primary mode of communication. Much like the popular “love language” concept where some prefer words of affirmation and others touch or some gifts, these communication styles or languages are key to unlocking the potential in a sales and management relationship. If you’re in sales (I believe we are all in sales of one form or another), consulting or ministry , the sooner you figure out the best way…

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Best Defense Against an Insult

The best defense to an insult is a greater insult, but not back to the person who slighted you, but to yourself. The inherent problem with an insult is that often we don’t know if it’s meant as a joke in poor taste, a true put down wrapped in a joke for the passive aggressive or a true ugly slight.  Before I figured out how to deal with these, I found myself in no-win situations. If it was meant as a joke and I over reacted, I would come across as an insecure jerk. If the put down was wrapped in a joke and I called the person on it, they would quickly remind me “I’m just kidding. Where’s your sense of humor?” And if it was meant as insult, it was most likely there to bait me into an argument or a fight at the wrong place and time.…

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Legacy Christian Organizations and the Irrelevance Spiral

The essence of communication is to understand your product, your audience and to present your product in a way your audience can understand it. Simple, right? Well, not in my experience with legacy Christian organizations. Some are losing the battle with culture and relevance. First, let me define legacy organizations: movements, groups and churches that are in their second or third generations of existence. Some critics have accused these legacy organizations of becoming irrelevant thus finding themselves in trouble trying to recruit new followers, fund their programs and budgets and survive, much less thrive, in current economic challenges. But that’s not what I see happening in the American Christian landscape. While some might be out of touch, most of these ministries are led by godly men and women who are passionate about evangelism, missions, discipleship, social justice and serving and are trying very hard to advance the cause of the…

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Are You Communicating or Trying to Impress?

“He’s so smart. I can’t understand half of he’s talking about.” I heard that said of a speaker not long ago. I couldn’t disagree more. Good communication takes into account your target audience and tries to create a bridge between the message and the audience it’s trying to reach. Great communicators do now show off how much they know about a subject to the point of overwhelming or confusing someone else. That’s the fodder of insecure, pseudo intellectuals who want to make sure you know they are smarter than you at any chance they get. One of the challenges I face as a consultant is to help my clients to communicate clearly and effectively. The longer we are a part of an organization, a movement, an industry, the more likely we are to create and adapt to our own language, ideas, and set of standards that often miss communicate our…

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