Close Your E-mail! 3 Ways to Communicate More Effectively…

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A few weeks ago, I sat down at my computer to compose an e-mail to a good friend about a new project I’ve been really excited about. I got the greeting out of the way and began telling the story of this new venture. I hacked out a sentence or two and then stopped. I didn’t like the way I was describing this thing for which I’m extremely passionate. I deleted those two sentences and tried again. Still hated it.

Then it occurred to me. I needed to just pick up the phone and call my friend.

E-mail has become the standard method of communication in our world. It’s fast and easy, and I don’t begrudge the invention altogether, but e-mail is flawed. Because e-mail is so convenient, we don’t always take the time to consider the tone we’re using, and misunderstandings happen. Even if we’ve considered our tone, it isn’t uncommon for the reader to assume you meant something another way. In addition to the tone problem, people often have an easier time being rude or terse over e-mail. We can be very brave when we’re hiding behind our laptop screen.

Unfortunately, e-mail has become a necessity, and I’ll grant that there are a number of legitimate uses for it. But if you want to communicate more effectively, and make sure that your personality comes across with your friends and colleagues, consider adding these three methods to your communication toolbox.

Phone Calls

I have an iPhone, and I think it’s funny sometimes that we call this device a “phone”. Most of my use of my “phone” is browsing the web, using an app, e-mailing, text messaging, etc. An actual phone call has almost become a novelty – much like when I was a kid and someone would send me a letter in the mail. It didn’t happen often, so it was actually pretty special when it did. But we should learn to use that feature on our smartphones.

Speaking on the phone lets your friend or colleague hear your voice. They can sense sarcasm, and they can better understand meaning. This kind of direct communication is almost always better than e-mail. It may take a little more time and intention, but make phone calls a regular part of how you interact with people.

Video Chats

Better yet, use services like Google Plus, Facetime, and Skype to video chat with your folks. Not only will your friend now be able to hear inflection and tone in your voice, but they can also see your expressions, knowing when you’re smiling, frowning, etc. When you can’t be physically in the same room as another person, video chat can often be the next best thing.

Half of our team works in Virginia and the other half in Texas. It can be challenging to work so closely with others, yet to have so much distance between us. Video chats make a world of difference in bridging the geographical gap. We often use these as the equivalent of popping into a co-worker’s office, something you have the luxury of when you work in the same location, and something that is really important to teamwork.

A Handwritten Note

If you want to see how much you have come to rely on your computer, get out a pen and paper and see how long you can write before your hand feels like it’s going to fall off. Unless you journal or take a lot of old-school notes, you probably won’t make it long. A handwritten note, however, is a really fantastic way to show someone that you cared enough to subject your hand to that kind of abuse, to get stationary and a stamp, and to go to all the trouble of mailing something.

Think about the way you felt the last time you got a card or note in the mail unexpectedly. Do you want to be the kind of person who makes others feel that way? Pick up this ancient practice, and revolutionize the way you communicate.

E-mail is a great tool, but it’s just one tool among many. Identify the kinds of relationships and conversations that are best served by e-mail, but also consider the times when your relationships would be much better served by more personal communication.

SALT Nashville – The Visual Worship Conference

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We’re so excited to be a part of the first ever Salt Conference this October in Nashville. The conference is one of the only places you can hear great speakers, great worship, and participate in great breakouts dedicated specifically to visual worship. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’re pretty passionate about visual worship around here.

We worship with our voices, but we also worship with our eyes, and exploring what it means to create visual environments and tell visual stories in our worship spaces is a huge part of that. Luke McElroy (of Playback Media) and his team have put together an incredible event, and we think you should be a part of it. They’ll have speakers like Gary Molander and Glenn Packiam, breakout leaders like Stephen Brewster, Jason Dyba, and Stephen Proctor, and worship from Jason Ingram of One Sonic Society.

AND… if you you’d like to attend, you can use promo code WHM15 for 15% off the registration price. What are you waiting for? Register here.

GIVEAWAY! Tell Me A Story

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At our core, WorshipHouse exists to put the right tools and resources in your hands so that you can be better equipped to proclaim the life-giving story of Jesus. And we don’t want you to just get any old resource, but the best of the best…

…so we’re giving away five copies of Scott McClellan’s new book, Tell Me a Story. Details below.

I’ve known Scott for a number of years and I’m always impressed by his wisdom and insight. As the Editor of Collide Magazine, Director of Echo Conference, and now the Communications Pastor at Irving Bible Church, Scott has lived and breathed the day in and day out of church communications and message development. And he lives it with the right combination of grace and a little dry humor.

In Tell Me a Story, Scott re-introduces us to a God who tells great stories, invites us into His Great Story and calls us to become great storytellers. By looking at the parts of any good narrative (character, narrator, conflict, purpose, etc.), we’re encouraged to live and to tell better stories. Whether we’re preaching, leading worship, running slides, caring for kids, or loving our spouse, this is something each of us are tasked with.

Scott’s hope and prayer “is that this book will convince you to identify yourself as a storyteller, an artist committed to narrative, and that in so doing you’ll experience God and your life more deeply than you did before.” We think Scott’s prayer can be answered and his hope fulfilled, so we want you to be exposed to this wonderful book.

CONTEST RULES: Just leave a comment here. Any comment. Why you want to read the book. Why you think it’ll be good for you and your team. Ask questions. Tell us about your ministry. Tell us about your hopes for better storytelling. Or just say Hello. We’ll pick a winner at random from all the comments we’ve received by Sunday night, May 19th, at Midnight CST. We’ll then notify the winners and ship your books!

Go!