I started out with facebook when it first opened up to the public. I started using twitter pretty much once it was available.
While I was excited about these new opportunities to connect, share, and communicate, I found there were many who saw both as a huge waste of time.
I would hear things like “Why would I want to know what others had for breakfast?” or “Twitter is just a bunch of people telling me about their mundane life!” And in some cases I definitely agreed. As time went on I tried to monitor what I was putting up. I found something very interesting.
When I would post about me, what I was doing, eating, watching, or thinking, my words would go with little or no response. However, when I would ask open ended questions like “What’s your favorite ice cream?”, “Fruitcake..love it or hate it?” or “What bible verse do you need to hear right now?” my comments and interactions were significantly higher.
In chapter 12 “Ask, Don’t Tell” Kem starts out by saying effective communication means listening to others.
“Knowing how to carry on a dialogue is more important than forcefully proclaiming what you know… The most effective team-builders make time to hear from others about their unique audience needs, department hurdles, system problems and team pain points.”
People want to be listened to, not talked to. They want to know that their ideas and thoughts are valued. They want you to treat them as if they were smart. As Kem says in the book “They like it when you get them thinking, but not when you tell them what to think.”
Right now we are in the midst of emphasizing communications at our church. We are changing from every department, ministry and staff person doing their own thing, to the newly created communications department creating those publications.
This chapter was great for me to read as we begin this change. We have had some successes, and some areas of conflict. Usually the success has come when I have “asked”, and the conflict when I have done the “telling” how it needs to be.
1. Do you create a dialogue, or proclaim what you know?
2. What ways to you use to get people thinking?
3. In light of this chapter, what advice could you give to someone starting in communications?[photo by ky_olsen]