Communicate Like Jesus
- Thursday, September 23, 2004
Information swarms at people from all sides as messages compete for attention in our world full of hype and spin. Yet even the slickest techniques, flashiest images, or catchiest soundbytes aren’t enough to get your message across in a way that changes people’s lives. To make authentic connections with people in your congregation and truly impact them in lasting ways, you need to follow the lead of Someone whose communication principles are both timeless and uniquely powerful: Jesus.
Here’s how you can learn to communicate like Jesus:
Realize that communication is a way of living, not a skill set. Understand that Jesus – who never conducted a media campaign or traveled the globe or took university courses in communication – has influenced the world more than anyone else who ever lived because of who He was. Know that people will respond to your character much more than they will to any communication techniques you use.
Be attentive. Understand that the one sure way to be heard is to give attention to other people. Take your focus off yourself and place it on the people you’re trying to reach. Know that, when people feel that you genuinely care about them, their hearts open to your message. See every interaction with people as an opportunity to learn from them. Try to listen more than you talk. Ask people thoughtful questions. Eliminate distractions while you’re meeting with others. Let your body language show that you’re interested in the conversations you have. Ask for clarification and confirmation of people’s points to make sure you’re hearing them correctly. Pay special attention to people who others often ignore, such as those who are poor or disabled. Seek to understand people’s backgrounds in life. Take the time to notice things that people do well and express appreciation for those things. Be willing to sacrifice your own agenda and schedule so you can give others the attention they need.
Seek authentic connections with people. Know that people will listen to you if you build genuine relationships with them. Decide to draw near to the people you’re trying to reach, no matter what the cost. Always convey your messages on your audience’s terms and on their turf. Keep your communication simple, familiar and concrete. Make use of stories often. Draw on experiences that you and your audience have in common. Honor the things your audience values. Be open and honest in discussing your own failures so your audience can see that you’re human just like them. Be humble. Find out what best communicates love to your audience, and speak in their heart language rather than your own.
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