People sometimes joke with me saying that they can always tell when I’m going to preach because there is a stool on the platform. Perhaps two stools, maybe even three. Let’s just say that the humble stool has become a bit of a calling card for me.
So why the stool? Do I get so tired after such expressive hand gestures that I need to sit down and recover? Perhaps. But it’s about so much more than that. The stool is a communications tool, one that is well worth understanding and embracing.
Most people would be aware that body language is the most significant factor in effective communication with some studies suggesting that its contribution to a message is up to 85%. Body language includes a number of factors, most particularly eye contact, gestures, mouth expression, and position.
Position is where the stool comes in. Position sends a message to your audience about who has the power, and how much power that person has. Position, while often interpreted subconsciously, involves a number of factors including the environment, props and posture, which all contribute to a statement of power that must be taken into consideration if your public speaking is to be effective as both authoritative and relatable.
Listen for the power dynamics at play as we break down the things worth considering as a communicator: Read More…
As a youth leader, parents will come to you on occasion for advice, especially when there are family struggles or their children aren’t communicating with them. It seems ridiculous, because instinctively we think “Why the heck are you asking me? I’m not a parent!” And while we cannot (and shouldn’t) make decisions for them, there are some principles that we can always fall back on to encourage and equip parents with – you do have something to offer. Read More…
A CHALLENGE that arises when serving in a large youth department is the need for multiple teams to manage both the people and tasks that fall under our care. Often each of these teams will have a key leader, along with roles, values and expectations specific to that team’s contribution. The danger of siloing arises when these teams develop such a distinctive identity that they separate themselves from the other youth teams, or in the worst cases, the vision of the department altogether.
It’s important to remember that this isn’t usually done with any hostile intent; it’s simply a result of hanging out and serving alongside the same set of people week by week, and in the busyness of serving, accountability to the greater vision falls off the radar. Remembering of course, that these teams are made of people!
Symptoms of leadership siloing can often include hostility between teams, suspicion around the contribution of a leader on another team, team exclusiveness, reduced cross-team communication, and a sense of jealousy rather than celebrating a shared success. The drag will always be toward silos, so for this reason we need to be intentional about taking practical steps to avoid them. Read More…
The fear of public speaking (aka glossophobia) is one of the most regularly identified fears among humankind with many people ranking it of higher concern to them than the fear of death!
For the huge proportion of people who suffer from it, whether mild or severe, we know the signs and symptoms: increased heart rate, memory loss, moisture being absorbed from the mouth to magically reappear in the form of profusely sweating armpits. For me, it was that my hands would shake as if I was holding a jackhammer. At times it felt frustratingly irrational, my brain would look down at and scream, “STOP SHAKING!!” all to no avail.
Ah, but did you notice the subtle change in tense? WAS.