Get your key Announcements heard!


Tips on ensuring no one misses out on the key announcements and increase the amount of ‘Next Steps’ taken

In years gone by, Public Service Announcements and notices would have been broadcast by the local town crier. Dating back to medieval times, the role of the Town Crier was to announce all kinds of necessary information from market days, through to local bylaws and even, in one case, remind the public ‘keep the water in the river clean’ in the two days prior to water being drawn for beer brewing!

Unfortunately this may no longer be the best way to ensure that your announcements are heard, especially when there are so many different channels and media outlets competing for people’s attention. So how, in this busy world, can you ensure that your announcements are heard by everyone who needs to know. How can you be effective without spending hours on end each week ensuring everyone is personally contacted to inform them? If you’ve spent any amount of time looking into strategies for your Church Announcements, you’ll have found there is a wealth of advice out there, and not all of it is that good. We’ll try to pull some of this together into a couple of simple tips for you, but there is always more to learn!

Here’s a few tips to help you on this journey. What’s more, how can you make sure that your notices are being acted upon and not just heard! We’d also love to hear your experiences on making sure your message is heard, please do get in touch…

 

1- Simplify the delivery

Let’s face it, hiring the town crier is no longer a valid or effective method for broadcasting your Church Announcements (although it could be a quirky delivery for a special event). Stereotypically, Church Announcements have been presented from the platform by a member of the Church team. Often they’ll include everything through from upcoming events, team meetings and even occasionally family affairs. This can be great at times as it can give a face to the Church, show the friendly nature of the Church and it can be a good way to introduce newer members of your serving teams to public speaking and uncover hidden talent!

However, if you’re looking for a sleek production for your Sunday gathering or to make you announcements as accessible as possible, this may not be the best route for you. Additionally it can be ‘High Risk’ (If a mistake is made during a live delivery, miscommunication can cause all kind of issues) and it’s not effective for those who’re not present at the time.

Many Churches are turning to video for their Church Announcement. Not only does this allow the presentation to be scripted in advance, but it can be recorded, re-recorded and edited as needed. It can also be distributed via Social Media, email and website for those not attending the main gathering. If the announcements are well planned, it can be a great insight into the life of the Church for visitors to the website and Social Media too!

It’s also worth considering the accessibility of the notices for those with additional needs. One of the great things about filming your Church announcements before hand. You’re able to consider the delivery of the announcements. Do you need subtitles for anyone with hearing difficulties, how about signing? When you’re in front of the camera, you can be more exaggerated in your delivery, this can help convey the message of your announcements.    

 

2- Reduce amount of notices (Less is more)

One of the lies which we can often fall for as Church Leaders, is that the way to increase the amount of ‘Next Steps’ taken is to offer more opportunities. Surely the more outreach events, the more activities, the more groups we host, the more people will get involved, right? Wrong! Studies show that, whilst giving people more options will initially peak a higher level of interest (after all, who doesn’t like to see a full table or leaflet rack?) but in the long run, interest conversion and ‘Next Step’ rate is far lower than a well targeted, strategic approach.

If your Church Announcements consist of everything that happens in the life of the Church, chances are, your congregation members will have tuned out and either stopped listening, or forgotten the first few by the time you’ve finished the announcements. You may want to consider scaling down the amount of announcements to a select few of key importance. This can be done overtime as you work out what your essential announcements are, aim for just 3 announcements, and make them applicable for everyone. If the announcement was only relevant for a few, consider whether there is another way this can be communicated. Maybe even consider planning your announcements to follow a theme, so that the Church has just one thing to remember.

 

3 - Call to Action

One of the biggest dangers when it comes to announcements and Church News is to assume that the recipient will know how to respond. Be completely clear on what it means to respond. Are you asking for more Volunteers? If so state what you need. Is it a new activity launching, what do you want your Church to do about it? It’s helpful to imagine yourself as a member of the congregation and ask the question ‘So what?’ at the end of each announcement. One trick to get more next steps in Church life is to reveal an itch in the congregation, and then inform them on how they can scratch it.

So often we have different procedures for different activities. ‘Speak to X for more info about Sports Team’, ‘Visit the website to sign up for Z’, ‘Checkout the Info desk for details about Y’... It can so easily become like trying to herd cats!

Consider streamlining this to one simple way which people can respond. If you have an info point, consider centralising all responses to that point. No matter what it is your Church are responding to, they’ll know how to do it and you can effectively communicate everything that you need. Maybe you have an area on your website where people can sign up for more information on any announcements. Consider making this the ‘Central Response Point’ and then position channels for people to respond around the Church. Maybe you have a computer on the info desk, and your stewarding team has tablets all of which allow people to respond on your website. Having one centralised response point will not only streamline and consolidate your Next Steps, chances are you’ll see more and more interaction from your Church!

And there we go, 3 steps which can not only make your Church Announcements unmissable (or unforgettable), but will also increase the amount of your ‘next steps’ taken.

Again, if you have any experience or stories around this, we’d love to hear it! Please do get in touch and let us know!  


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