Not Getting the Response You Want from Announcements? Here’s Why…

announcements-that-workMany of the announcements I read and hear are essentially worthless, because they don’t answer the two fundamental question every recipient needs answered in order to respond.

Do you know what those two questions are?

Keep reading and I’ll tell you…

Most people communicate from their own perspective.

Think about the announcements you receive this week – the verbal announcements in church, the company newsletters, the email from the person who leads the ministry or volunteer organization you’re involved with. Most of those announcements are broadcast out to hundreds of people and essentially that person telling you what they want you to do to help them.

  • Buy our product
  • We need volunteers for this upcoming event
  • Sign up now for…

Am I right?

What’s odd is most of us don’t respond to announcements like this, and yet we turn around and make the same kind of announcements to other people. Doesn’t make much sense, does it?

The first thing we need to do is…

Think about our communications from the perspective our recipients

We are bombarded by requests all day long. Researchers say the average person is exposed to between 2,000 and 5,000 marketing messages a day. And yes, your announcement – even if it’s a verbal announcement in church or an email to your ministry team – is a marketing message.

Since we’re only capable of responding to a small number of those messages each day, we have developed strong mental filters that keep us from even considering the vast majority of these requests.

The first thing we must do in any announcement to make it effective is to engage the recipients mental filter. We do that by answering the first question…

1) Is this for me?

  • Are you passionate about giving children a strong foundation of faith?
  • If finances are causing you stress…
  • Is your website hard to update?

These questions/statements immediately engage the filter of your recipients. Some people will realize the announcement is not for them and tune out. That’s OK. But others will respond by thinking, “He’s talking to me. I want to pay attention to this…” because you’ve identified a problem they have or something they want.

The reason you’re reading this blog post is because when you read the title “Not Getting the Response You Want from Announcements?” something inside you said, “No, I’m not. This is for me.”

2) What’s my next step?

While there are some occasions in which an announcement is intended just to keep people informed, the purpose of most announcements is to rally people to take action.

To do that effectively, we must tell the exactly what their next step is.

An example of a bad announcement is, “If you’d like to volunteer, talk to Sue Johnson.” What if I don’t know who Sue Johnson is? When, where and how should I talk to her?

  • If the next step is to contact someone, always include the method of contact and the contact info.
  • If the next step is to go somewhere, explain when and exactly where that is in terms a newbie who is not familiar with your city or buildings will understand.
  • If the next step is to sign up or buy something, explain how to do that.

This is true of every media – verbal, paper, email, website – but the specific next steps and how you explain them will probably be different depending on the media.

Take Action

If you’ve found the post helpful, would you do 2 things?

  1. Post a comment telling us about your announcements and what you’re going to do differently.
  2. Do it!

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

4 Responses to “Not Getting the Response You Want from Announcements? Here’s Why…”

  1. S. Fresonke Harper Jul 18, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Paul, you are very correct because when I get resistant to doing something its because of terror of the unknown, or it sounds like it will be difficult to do or take too much of my time. Volunteers requests should say, we need someone for 3 hours on Wed morning, training will be provided, call x.

    • That's good to provide the specifics (3 hours on Wed morning, training will be provided, call x). However, when we say things like "We need…" that shows we're thinking from our own perspective rather than from the perspective of someone who might volunteer. It implies we think people should server the needs of the organization rather than the other way around. I think we need to tell people why they should volunteer. Why is it an opportunity they don't want to miss out on?

  2. Thanks Paul; a very interesting article but I didn't feel that I wanted to display it further because it is from such an explicitly Christian perspective. I was brought up as a Christian and I still feel kinship with much of the teachings of the Church and have a faith which, whilst different from what I take to be yours, is still explicitly spiritual.

    My work on the internet is in aid of my online networking and business and it isn't appropriate for that, to be posting explicitly religious messages. Probably you will disagree but that is my viewpoint.. Thanks anyway for the opportuinity to read your article. regards, Tony

    • PaulSteinbrueck Aug 1, 2014 at 9:54 am

      Thanks for the feedback Tony. We serve churches, schools, ministries and businesses, so when I blog I try to use examples that resonate with people in all of these organizations. We 'd love for you to share our content, but understand if you don't think it's the best fit for your audience.