"Skill in the art of communication is crucial to a leader’s success. He can accomplish nothing unless he can communicate effectively.” - Anonymous. There is much truth in this quote, therefore it is a topic well worth our attention.
We all communicate every day, day in and day out without giving it much thought. For the most part, we communicate effectively because we communicate in very personal exchanges with people we know, often within a small groups or one on one and it works rather well most of the time. This fits a very simple definition of communication, the getting and giving of information, also known as a conversation.
In a simple conversation we can hear to the rate of speech, the tone or pitch and the rythm of how the message is deleivered. A long pause in the conversation can also communicate and importent element to the message. We can also use the body language of those involved to more completely understand the the true nature of the message being delivered. For the skilled conversationalist, these elements of a conversation can communicate much.
Even in a simple casual conversation between two people, a message can become tangled and not well understood. The more we move away from the simplest of personal conversations, the more difficult it can become to communicate effectively. Many of the communiction clues provided in a simple person to person conversation are often lost when we move to writing our message in a newsletter or e-mail. Yet, there are times when we need to communicate with large numbers of people, that do not live nearby.
Here are some ideas to help increase the chance our messages will be received and understood.
We call this simple model of communication a conversation. From this conversation we get to know each other. We get to know about what interests the potential active member has and the member we talk with gets to know more about us and our post. This is how we develop relationships with members. It is often the good relationship between two
members that allows a member to say "yes" when they are asked to help.
Public Communications: Public communication, both verbal and written, tend to be broad requests or even pleadings for members to help. These requests can be presented in your post newsletter, verbally in a post meeting or through web sites and social media. An example would be, "We have a big BBQ next month and we sure could use a few more members helping out." Seldom does this request produce the desired result of more people volunteering to help. Public requests for members to become active just don't work well, very often.
Personal Conversations: A simple conversation between members is an ideal way to communicate with members. A conversation is both personal, yet open. Conversations with members are most effective when we make an honest and sincere effort to get to know about our members. In many ways our personal communications with members fall under the heading of just being nice. Humans are social animals and we like to be recognized as individuals by other members of the post, because it helps us feel that we belong in the social setting of the post. When members feel they belong to your post, it is much easier for them to say "yes" when asked to help. Our personal communications with post members are the foundation to gaining more active members.
As we present information on the Leadership Skills of Vision and Desire, Managing Change, SMART Goals, Planning, Delegation, Mentoring and Team Development consider how theses skills can be applied in your post to help increase the number of Active Members.