Top 5 Communication Skills and How to Improve Them
Communication is a must-have skill for church leadership. Whether you’re coaching associate pastors, leading a meeting on worship planning, speaking to congregants, or developing donors, how well you communication skills and how to improve them below. plays an enormous role in overall success.
The same goes for everyone in your organization — from worship team members to volunteers on committees. Find out about the top five communication skills and how to improve them below.
Perhaps the most important communication skill has nothing to do with what you say or do. It’s how you receive the information other people are giving.
The best listening is active. You’re not just hearing what someone else is saying — you’re actively engaged in it, processing it fully so you can reply in the most appropriate way. This is what strong communication looks like.
This type of listening can obviously be difficult when you’re hearing something you’re not that interested in or even find annoying. Listening to the worship team argue over which song should be played — again — or someone’s long-winded explanation of a scenario can be hard.
But many people don’t realize that active listening is equally as challenging when you’re very interested in the topic. Church leaders have to be careful that their passion for the Gospel or love of their flock doesn’t cause them to interrupt, put their own POV first, or override what someone has communicated because they already have in mind how a conversation or outcome should go.
Strength your communication by practicing active listening skills that include:
- When speaking in person or on video, make eye contact. Face the person and remove distractions. Step out from behind a computer, put your phone away or face down, and turn away from other noise or conversations going on around you. When someone feels you’re giving them your attention, they’re more comfortable speaking to you.
- Avoid interrupting. Interrupting to interject your own thoughts can cause someone to feel like you think your communication is more important than theirs. It can also fluster them or derail their train of thought, so you never get the full story. Obviously, you should apply this one within reason because there are times you may need to interrupt to correct the course of thought or conversation.
- Try to listen without forming conclusions before the person is done. Reacting to what’s being said in the form of judgments, emotions, or drawing conclusions means you don’t fully hear everything. You may miss an important part of the communication, resulting in a misunderstanding.
As a leader, delegation is an important part of communication. No one can do everything, and asking the people on your church team to help with various tasks ensures items are handled in a timely manner. It also provides an opportunity for other people to learn and grow.
But that’s only true if you delegate correctly. When communicating tasks to others, ensure you’re clear, concise, and kind. If you’re in a senior leadership role in a church, you may not always be asking, but you can always be respectful of other people’s goals, time, and personalities when delegating.
If you struggle with communication when delegating, consider taking time to ensure you’re answering all the question words when passing a task to someone:
- Who needs to handle the task?
- What do they need to do?
- When should the work be completed by?
- Where does the task take place or where are the resources located?
- Why is the task important?
- How is the work done?
3. Clarity Communication Skills and How to Improve Them
Clarity is critical to any communication. Consider the example of asking for donations. You’re more likely to get results if you clearly and concisely convey:
- The reason you’re asking
- What the funds are being used for and why it’s important
- How your mission overlaps with the donor’s
- The steps for making the donation
Practice clarity by framing communication in the most precise and simple way you can without impacting the message. Less is definitely more when it comes to writing emails, making social posts, and even giving announcements from the pulpit.
If you’re not sure if your communications are clear, ask for feedback from people you trust. When they have questions, you can assume other people do too.
Empathy occurs when you’re able to share emotions and understand the needs and desires of another person. Individuals who work closely with others can actually devolve when it comes to empathy as a personal protective measure. It’s common in fields such as health care and social services as well as ministry.
That connection with others helps you communicate with them, though. Build empathy without driving yourself to burn out by actively listening, being willing to stand in the gap for another person without feeling like you must solve their problems, and taking care of your own mental and emotional wellness.
Church leaders take on a lot of feelings and burdens from others. It’s important that they have outlets — mentors, counselors, or good friends — so they can share their own burdens.
5. Nonverbal Communication Skills and How to Improve Them
Practice understanding nonverbal cues such as body language. A lot of what people feel comes across in how they stand, sit, move, or look. Getting to know your staff and congregants can help you understand each person’s unique body language for better communication.
Our online coaching system is a great place to start if you’re looking to build communication in your church. Effectively developing your church leadership teams, including their communication skills, is important before you launch campaigns to grow your membership or donors.