Slowly, but surely, the dream of Christmas is fading and being replaced by the equally pleasant reality of 2013, and the stronger, more enduring memories of this holiday season remain, defining how Christmas and New Year 2013 will be remembered in years to come.
One of the memories that remain is that of my son standing beside me in the church at Christmas Mass. The priest was in the tenth minute of delivering his sermon, when my son turned to me and whispered “It must be great to be a priest!” Bemused, I asked him why he thought this was so; “Because you can speak for ages, and everybody has to listen to you!”
I waited until the Mass had ended, and then asked my son if he remembered what the priest had said during his sermon. The blank expression on his face told me that we had both remembered about the same -next to nothing.
I have written elsewhere that I am a disciple of the maxim “K.I.S.S.” -Keep It Simple, Stupid! I believe that this can be employed in any area of communication. If we look at the sermon delivered by the priest, in all probability, we will find an exercise in quantity over quality. The subject matter reminds me of the apocryphal story where President Calvin Coolidge was asked about the subject of a lengthy sermon he had heard. “Sin” was his reply. When asked to elaborate on the clergyman’s theme, Coolidge is said to have replied “He was against it.”
Of course, the power of rhetoric to engage, motivate, persuade and inspire is so well recognised, we needn’t discuss it here, and it goes without saying that it is not enough for a priest to deliver a sermon saying “I am against sin”, but if we describe a sermon as a top-down communication, parallels can be drawn with memos and speeches delivered from superiors to subordinates in any organisation.
When delivering a message to your team, make sure that you’re not losing it in your communication. Your team will thank you, and you’ll find yourself having to repeat yourself less.