Less Clutter, Less Noise: 8) Reduce the Noise

noiseI’ve blogged about the cost of clutter and noise before. Just like me on my blog Clear and Simple, in this chapter I think Kem too is gripped by the fact that the world is becoming more and more saturated with advertising messages, information overload and that the church isn’t excluded from this.

The church is just as guilty as the rest of the world. In our effort to transform the world we think that if we bombard people with the same amount of information at least some of it will get through. It’s like we think that if people had a invisible force field and the sheer amount of information we throw at them a bit moves through that wall of protection then our job is done.

Kem writes about another age old problem that many churches face. I’ve faced it too. Everyone thinks that if only they can get the anchor or video news to announce their ministry event then it will be a success. Kem suggests that without a framework in place there is no way to decide what gets talked about and what doesn’t. Granger’s communications team has a set of values and priorities that determine what gets promoted and what doesn’t.

As she says, the question shouldn’t be who decides whether the event gets announced or not, but rather what drives it.

Kem recommends that you:

  • Invest minimal resources into print materials.
  • Identify one place to keep all information up-to-date.

So to honour Kem (yes my American cousins, that is how you spell it ;-) and her call to us all to reduce the noise, I’ve kept this blog post very short. I could give you a million solutions, but I don’t want to add to the clutter in your life.

Over to you: Questions to ask yourself before you communicate:

1) Will this information I intend to be helpful with just add to the clutter?

2) Is there any way to simplify what my audience sees to make their experience with the church easier and more rewarding?

[image by Anne Helmond]

7) Remove Barriers to Entry <– Less Clutter, Less Noise –> 9) Tell One Story at a Time

I'm husband to one, father to 3, Communications guy to a church called Crossway. You can read my blog or follow me on Twitter @SteveFogg

17 Responses to “Less Clutter, Less Noise: 8) Reduce the Noise”

  1. Coming from a church that printed everything and attending a church where we print nothing, I can see that it could be valuable to hand out a sheet of paper with a few brief announcements on it with the sermon notes on the back or something like that. Otherwise, I think that printed stuff is generally useless. Most printed church newsletters I receive just end up in the recycling after I scan for the dates and times that are most important to me. If I have to really search a newsletter for the info I want, I'll sometimes just give up.

    By the way, are you asking something like this with the first question: "Will the information I classify 'helpful' be perceived as clutter by my audience?"

    • G'day Ed,

      thanks for helping me communicate more clearly! I've been on the road alot and it's hard to write a blog post on a mobile in a car! You have said it much more clearly than I've said it.

      Re-reading my post I'm also noticing my clumsy grammar at work. Too many words!

      We are always learning eh?!

  2. PaulSteinbrueck Jan 28, 2011 at 11:36 am

    I think almost everything we want to communicate will be helpful to some people and clutter to others, even when the information is applicable to the whole church or we're accurately targeting a sub-group. So, I think one of the best ways to reduce the noise is to put all the information people need concisely on the website. Then when making announcements (in a service, program, email or whatever), all you need to give people is a sentence or two saying what the opportunity is, helping them decide if it's for them, and then sending them to the website for more information.

  3. sarahfholbrook Jan 28, 2011 at 11:41 am

    We have adopted some of the Granger Resources (esp the Communications Manual), changed some things that fit specifically to our church and made it Cypress UMC's Comm Manual. Very helpful and timely as this is such cluttered world. I love page 122, with the picture of all the paper work from school. Wow! Thanks Steve!

  4. Most nonprofits have the exact same problem. They are constantly knee deep in their work, their cause, that they loads lots of information on people thinking because it's all the information they want to know…not what the person needs to know. As staff members we know the 50 million things that are going on at church, and it's hard to put ourselves on the other side.

    The most important thing to outreach is organization. To put the right information, in the right place that people can access it. Sometimes that's all communication needs to go from confusing and overwhelming to understandable and simple.

  5. Our Vision Task Force is asking everyone in the congregation grade 7 and above to complete an assessment in February. Advice from the hired outside 'expert' was that we need to email everyone on our mailing list every 3 days all month. My reaction was 'you have got to be kidding'. Luckily, someone on the committee had the same reaction. I can't even begin to imagine how many members would tune out if not unsubscribe from ALL church emails by the end of the month if we followed through with that!

    • PaulSteinbrueck Jan 31, 2011 at 10:51 am

      Wow, that's scary to hear an outside "expert" would recommend that. I say the best frequency to communicate with people is the frequency they want to hear from you. There's no set number. You have to ask your audience & listen to what they say will be helpful to them.

  6. Any thoughts about communicating to different generations? Our 70- and 80-year-olds read the bulletin… they don't read a website. Vice versa for the 20- and 30-year olds. What about when there is no central place that everyone goes to? Do we print the website and hand it out to the older crowd? :-)

    • PaulSteinbrueck Feb 16, 2011 at 3:15 pm

      Kay Lynn, that's a great question. My suggestion is to start by asking people. Many times we assume older folks won't go to the website and younger don't read the bulletin, but do you know that for sure? If after talking with people you find it is true, perhaps you could help teach the older folks how to use the website? If not, printing content from the website may not be a bad idea. Usually creating content is what takes the most time, finding ways to quickly repurpose content for multiple media can be a win-win.

  7. Nice Post, Nice Suggestions, Yes, Less clutter means life made more easy, especially in Churches
    Keep inform
    best

  8. Our Assembly created a new web site for the congregation, But naturally the old may not respond, even sometimes the younger generations are less interested in such stuffs. They are busy and in between long for other stuffs, what a pathetic situation, Thanks again for your suggestions here thru different blogs.
    best

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention Less Clutter, Less Noise: 8) Reduce the Noise | Christian Web Trends Blog -- Topsy.com - Jan 28, 2011

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by OurChurch (dot) Com, Allan Roberts. Allan Roberts said: Less Clutter, Less Noise: 8) Reduce the Noise: I’ve blogged about the cost of clutter and noise before. Just lik… http://bit.ly/hIyRA2 [...]

  2. Less Cluttler, Less Noise: 9) Tell One Story at a Time | Christian Web Trends Blog - Jan 31, 2011

    [...] Reduce the Noise <– Less Clutter, Less Noise Gabe Taviano is the proud husband to author and speaker Marla Taviano (MarlaTaviano.com) and father to their three daughters, Olivia, Ava and Nina. God is guiding Him as he is developing the Digital Disciples (DigitalDisciples.net) network, which consist of free monthly meetups for Christians who are tech / creative minded, and listing one of those individuals each day online. He serves as Director of Digital Presence at a Christian radio station, 104.9 the River (1049theRiver.com) in Columbus, Ohio. church, communications Less Clutter, Less Noise: 8) Reduce the Noise [...]

  3. Less Clutter, Less Noise: Kicking Off the Group Blog Project | Christian Web Trends Blog - Jan 31, 2011

    [...] 8 [...]