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5 tips for internal church communications

By Natalie Bannon

We often focus on communicating with those outside of the church, but it’s also important to take a look at how you communicate with those within your congregation, specifically church staff and volunteers. Keep the lines of internal communications open with these tips:

1. Guide

When a staff person or volunteer takes on a new task, don’t assume that you’re all on the same page. Consider the following: What is the ultimate goal? What is the best way to accomplish this goal? Clear communication will not only ensure success, but it will help prevent hurt feelings. Spend a little time to give guidance and don’t forget to….

2. Listen

We know that communication is not a one-way street, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that listening is just as vital as interacting. Heed advice from staff and volunteers. They might be well-versed and experienced in the best ways to accomplish certain tasks more efficiently. Listening goes a long way in making people feel appreciated.

3. Simplify

What is the best way to communicate? Meetings? Email? Phone? Text messaging? Social media? The good news is that there are more ways to communicate now than ever before. The bad news is that there are more ways to communicate now than ever before. Don’t assume that just because social media works best for you that it is the preferred option for everyone. Take a poll. Make sure you’re regularly communicating via the channels that your staff and volunteers prefer.

4. Plan

We all lead busy lives. Make internal communications easy for everyone by planning ahead. Of course, there will be some tasks that spring up at the last minute, but for the most part, a calendar with clear assignments can keep things operating smoothly. Consider giving your staff and volunteers a United Methodist program calendar in their favorite format.

5. Review

Quarterly, bi-annually or even annually, meet with your team to review the status of your internal communications strategy. Consider surveying the group and then hosting a discussion. When did a lack of communication prevent you from accomplishing a goal? What’s an example of when things went the right way? In which ways could internal communications improve? These are just a few questions to get your group discussion started. Don’t be accusatory. Use encouraging language that promotes an open and honest conversation.

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