I recently had a completely unexpected lesson in effective communication while attending church.
There we were, sitting in our pews waiting for the service to begin. At the invitation of Pastor Meredith, someone from the congregation headed up to the front of the room to make a few announcements. We sat there silently and waited. Suddenly, a whistle blew in the back of the room and everyone turned around. There stood Pastor David, wearing an apron and carrying a shepherd’s crook. Behind him were several women wearing aprons and carrying pots and pans. After them came a drummer.
The pot and pan brigade marched to the front of the church to a drum beat and sang a song in traditional army style about how fun and easy it is to volunteer for coffee service on Sundays. The song was a bit silly, the group looked funny, and Pastor David was having a great time twirling the shepherd’s crook. The entire congregation was paying attention. And smiling. Even the teenagers. It was completely unexpected and everyone was watching.
When you need to communicate something, the traditional route often feels the safest but might not yield the best results. How many people would have paid attention of Pastor Meredith had just rolled the “volunteer for coffee service” message into the rest of her announcements? Maybe a few, but not everyone. I guarantee there was not a single person in church that day who did not know that we needed volunteers for coffee service, and it’s likely that the sign-up sheet is now full.
The next time you need to ask someone for something, think about how you can make your message appealing and unexpected. Remember, if you can’t get someone’s attention, you can’t communicate anything.
Christina Steder is the President of Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns. Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve.