I?ve been working in and around the communication business for going on 30 years. And one thing I?ve learned about people who work in the communication business is that we are terrible at communicating. But hey, the cobbler?s son has no shoes either, right? Perhaps it?s because we do this all day long or perhaps we just get lazy, but generally speaking, technical directors are not great at communicating with their teams. And I can say that as a recovering technical director.
While I?m admittedly not great at it, I have learned a few things along the way ? mostly from people who are good at it. Here are a few tips for doing a better job of communicating with your tech team.
Sure, I know you schedule your teams 6 months in advance, and you are super-responsible and always put the dates you are serving on your calendar. But guess what? Your team just might not. That?s why it?s a good idea to send reminders regularly. If you use Planning Center Services ??and I can?t think of one good reason not to ? you can take advantage of the auto-reminder feature that sends out a reminder to the team sometime the week they are scheduled. I used to do Wednesday. It?s far enough in advance that people can change plans they made by mistake, but not too far that they?ll forget in a few days. This is easy, so just do it.
One thing that my former worship leader used to do that I adopted for my team was to send out a personal reminder email on Thursday afternoon. Usually it was short, something along the lines of, ?Hey, we?re excited to serve with you this weekend! Here?s what the service will look like?? We would send that out to make sure everyone on the team knew they weren?t just scheduled by robots. We cared about them individually enough to send an email from our own computers, typed by our own fingers.
You think about services all week long. You sit in staff and planning meetings and know exactly what is going to happen. You may even rehearse it in your head. Your team?not so much. As a current volunteer, I honestly don?t give much thought to the weekend until, well, the weekend. An email that comes in with a ton of information is very useful for me. At the very least, make sure the songs are on Planning Center and that all the information is up to date. This seems simple, but it?s regularly overlooked.
Another thing to communicate more ? as in every weekend ? is the vision behind why you do what you do. Again, you think about this, plan for it, talk with staff all week, all month, all year. Your team serves once a month. It feels redundant to you, but it?s not to them. It?s always good to gather the tech team and just do a quick walkthrough and reminder of how important their roles are in the service.
If you don?t go over this with them, I promise you they will forget that they are, in fact, important. I know because I?ve been that volunteer that doesn?t feel appreciated, cared for, or in-the-know about what?s going on. Like I said, it?s going to feel like you?re saying the same thing every week. And you are! Just remember your team serves once every four weeks.
Some of you are not good writers. I know, I?ve read your emails. It would be worth your time to take a writing class or at least have someone proofread your email before sending it. That someone should be a good writer. Don?t make it harder on your team by forcing them to decipher just what it is you?re trying to say to them. You don?t have to be Hemingway, but did you know you can go to http://www.hemingwayapp.com and have that website proof your emails for basic grammar functionality? Write your email, copy the email, and paste it in that app. You may be surprised at the results.
Also, make sure you are giving people the information they actually need to know. Volunteers like to be successful at their jobs. Surprising them when they show up with a completely new service item will not make them feel successful. Again, more is better. Just don?t be verbose. Clear, simple, complete. Those should be your watchwords.
You are the only one who carries the torch of vision for your team. Make sure you keep it in front of them every weekend, and help them be the best tech team they can be.