Category: Communication (Page 1 of 16)

Free Webinar for Pastors, Group Leaders, Teachers, and Church Volunteers


It’s not news that churches suddenly had to go online a year ago or lose the ability to connect with their people and serve a hurting world. Many of us did exactly that, and you may now be having two reactions.

  1. I’m so glad we can get in-person again and leave this whole Zoom thing behind!
  2. I’ve been doing this for a year. I know what I’m doing.

Either of those may cause you trouble!

  1. Zoom and its cousins (like Microsoft Teams and Google Meets) are not going away any time soon. People have found they can connect without having to spend time and money on travel. Plus, there’s a whole population of people “out there” we can’t reach with our existing technology (and by that, I mean our church buildings and the way we’ve been doing things for a long time).
  2. You may have heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect.” It’s wrong. The reality is, practice just make permanent. If you have been trying to do on Zoom just what you had been doing in your classrooms and pulpits, you are probably not using the new medium in the most useful way. It’s like doing a TV newscast with just a radio announcer reading the news on camera.

The most important factor in an engaging meeting is YOU—and by that, I mean the sense of your presence, a human being people can relate to. There’s a reason the gospel spread person to person. There’s a reason just handing people a tract does little good. Most people will not visit a church unless someone invites them, and they come because a person made them feel welcome.

Zoom can do that. But not the way most of us have been using it.

This Thursday (yes, that soon!) you have the opportunity to attend a FREE webinar to help you make what you’re already doing even more effective. It’s called “Online Presence: Engagement Beyond Worship.” We will cover topics such as:

  • Why do we need to use Zoom differently?
  • How do I hold the attention of students?
  • What should I do besides talk?
  • What can I do about Zoom fatigue? (Hint: there’s no such thing.)
  • How do I protect the group against disrupters while maintain an open, welcoming atmosphere?
  • How do I get a virtual background looking good without spending an arm and a leg?
  • How can I foster a sense of group identity?

We will cover all that and more. Join us at 2 p.m. OR at 7 p.m. Each session will be live, not a repeat, so we can speak directly to your concerns.

Seats are limited, though, so grab yours now!

Register for the 2 p.m. webinar

Register for the 7 p.m. webinar

Questions! Email us.

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The texture of words

Chilean Fox Terrier

What is that magic air mover?

Words carry more than information. The words you choose change the texture, the flavor of the information. They change the way readers view the world.

For instance, my public speaking students frequently choose “Legalization of Marijuana” as a topic. (The fact that they have been choosing this topic for over 30 years says something about our nation, but that’s for another article.) The audience of college students has probably heard this discussed dozens of times in various settings. So I suggest instead they discuss “Relegalization of Marijuana.” That often makes audiences cock their heads, the way a dog looks at a ceiling fan. That recasting of the topic can completely change the way the speaker approaches the topic and the way the audience hears it. Continue reading

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Medium roundup for April 6

I got behind on posting updates here, but I’ve been getting a lot of writing done on Medium. (Follow me there.) As my own writing evolves, I continue to focus on effective communication, but I’m also branching out into other areas of interest. This blog is, therefore, more and more focusing on my work as a writer in general. Accordingly, I will start including here links to things other than just communication-related posts, but I will use subheads to help you find the things you are most interested in.

Continue reading

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Roundup of Medium articles

Here is the index post of Medium articles I’ve posted through February—or at least the ones connected to effective communication. I’ll catch up on March a little later. If you would like to see all of my Medium articles, you can find them here.

That catches up all of January and February. I’ll catch up March before Friday.

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What I learned when my son died

barry obit

I have learned some hard lessons recently. I wrote this last week:

It seems so wrong to be sitting here in his hospital room, him over there so quiet, because he passed away this morning — my beloved 32-year-old son. Continue reading

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Taco lessons for life

Life lesson #223

I had a similar conversation on separate occasions with two of my kids following some unwise choice both had made. It went something like this:

“There are three kinds of people in the world. There are people who learn the easy way. There are people who learn the hard way. And there are people who just don’t freaking learn. [I confess the original language was harsher—but it was a really unwise choice he or she had made more than once.] You’ve already shown that you are not the first kind. It remains to be seen which of the other two you are.”

Continue reading

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A social media lesson learned: slow down

Big Hairy Deal

This started out to be a “no big hairy deal” thing–and it really still is. But I have once again been presented with a “lesson,” and I’m going to out my own stumble to share with you, just in case it’s useful.

First, let me acknowledge that, once again, I have been absent from the blog for quite some time–haven’t been in here since May. Life circumstances have changed in such a way that it is inevitably affecting me professionally, and I will make another post about that. Suffice it to say that both my writing and my speaking will change drastically, and while I will still publish to help you be more effective at communicating in your daily life, my approach is going to have to change. But, as I said, that’s for another post.

Now, back to our regular post:


My lesson started out with a simple enjoyment of a Facebook post from writer Jena Schwartz. Continue reading

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How pelicans got their beaks


You can’t force creativity, but you can remove the roadblocks.

At the risk of sounding like an old fart (because, after all, I am one): I believe I have noticed a decrease in the ability of incoming students to think outside the pigeon hole. I don’t think students are any less intelligent, but I do think it is one of the unintended side effects of “No Child Left Untested” foisted on the American public in a well-intentioned but misguided attempt to improve public education.

I don’t want to trot down that side path right now. Regardless of the cause, I am sure I see students struggling to think creatively. You might struggle as well.

Continue reading

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Old ties, new media


I just got off the phone with an old friend I haven’t talked with for probably 40 years. I still hear my friend from then in his voice. The call came to my phone, but I really had no idea what the actual connection was (turns out it came through Facebook Messenger).

Old ties are important, and relatively rare in American culture. Continue reading

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