You’ve likely heard the adage. How you communicate is an essential component of what you communicate. Content is critical, but so is delivery. Finding the voice in which to share content is sometimes just as difficult as determining the content itself.
Leaders are often the first to communicate a new message. As a pastor, your delivery of content will affect how the church receives it. The first time people hear something noteworthy, there is weight to the message and prominence given to the one delivering it. Tone is key if you’re doing the communicating.
How might leaders set the tone in their organizations? What different voices might they use in communicating a message? Consider these options as a church leader.
Coach. Use a coach’s voice to get people pumped up about something. This voice works well when relaying positive news while attempting to recruit people to serve. An in-your-face-yet-encouraging coach will set the tone of enlistment with excitement.
Theologian. Not all theologians are leaders, but all leaders within the church should be theologians. A pastor should use this voice when working through complex biblical issues. For example, what will the church do about a multiplicity of viewpoints among the congregation on a hot-button topic? A theological voice helps set the tone of looking at the issue with the proper amount of emotion.
Engineer. Inevitably, most churches will have a group of people who attempt to solve problems from a structural perspective. For them, problems are solved with policies, charts, and spreadsheets. While not all vision needs to be structural in nature, vision does require structure for proper implementation. Leaders should use an engineer’s voice when communicating this structure, especially to the group of people who default to the structural approach of solving problems.
General. Few want to be on the receiving end of general barking orders on a regular basis. When a crisis hits, however, someone must step up quickly and take charge. When a problem includes a real sense of urgency, the voice of a general becomes an effective way to set the tone of urgency among followers.
Friend. Some leadership messages require less of an inspiring appeal to the masses and more of a friendly interaction with followers. Using the voice of a friend sets the tone for long-term buy-in and loyalty among followers.
Church leaders should use different voices in different venues with different groups of people within a congregation. Followers will respond to the tone of leadership just as much as the actual content of the message. Match the correct tone with the right content, and people will better respond better to the voice of a lead.
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