Many of you know that there is a major portion of my life that is dedicated to communication. Whether in a classroom, auditorium, sanctuary or even online, communication and subsequent influence and transformation is my passion and calling. There has been a stirring occurring in my soul over the past years…my assumptions about communication have been foundationally shaken…it has happened to a degree from which I will never recover.
For years, I assumed that stage presence, voice inflection, eye contact, adequate preparation, and spiritual gifting made up some of the essential building blocks of good communication. Of course, there are some communicators that have an incredible ability of being able to cognitively adhere to massive amounts of information regarding their presentation that gave them the ability to be "alienated" from their written text/notes. For years, I had a secret "hatred" (maybe too strong of a word, more envy/covet) for those individuals who could teach/speak in a flawless manner without being tied down to something visual before them. I am not going to mention last names because of protecting the "innocent"..but for now let me just mention Kevin, Mike, Len, John, and Nathan.
BUT communication has changed…new tools (e.g. powerpoint), changes in our understanding of how our brain works, and extensive exploration are forever altering the way we need to be communicating. Over the past months, I've been absorbing new ideas from Daniel Pink, Garr Reynolds, Seth Godin, Nancy Duarte, new books on Cognition Traps and Mirror Nuerons, among others…each is exciting me and stoking my passion for good communication more than I have felt in years. I do not believe that I will be able to prepare and present anything from this point forward without a new imagination.
Of course, that brings with it new challenges – thinking from an "analog" perspective; being a designer; spending more time brainstorming communication ideas than being "impressed" with my own depth and scope of knowledge on a particular subject – but each challenge is worth grappling with.
If you are someone who is a communicator, teacher, speaker, or preacher – it is time to move away from old paradigms - as comfortable as they may appear and feel to you. You may feel like a neophyte in this new world…that's OK – humility is good for the soul. We who have a few years of life experience have got to be able to see that it is time to move away from speaking primarily to those who were schooled in Guttenberg and understand that we have a Google audience that demands a new paradigm. It's time to re-tool!