Did you ever attend church and leave thinking “gee, it seemed like the pastor was communicating directly to me today. His message really spoke to my heart!” I know I have! That is a huge compliment to a pastor, who has a difficult job of coming up with a message once a week that is relevant to a diverse and broad audience. But he didn’t really write it just for you or me. He’s effectively communicating.

“Effective communication is the art of successfully delivering your message” – Stefan Swanepoel.

I spent nearly 20 years working full-time in a field where being able to effectively convey my thoughts in writing was critical. Our proposals and reports were written and submitted to a variety of interested parties, some experts and others laymen in the field. While the documents were often written to express our methods, conclusions, opinions and recommendations to a broad audience, they typically were written in a way that just about anyone could understand, and often with little or no direct dialogue. Submittals to regulatory agencies inevitably created a Request for Additional Information, or RAI, or even the occasional phone conversation with the regulator reviewing the report, to answer questions that came up.

Writing here on the internet to a broad audience is completely different…

it’s even a different style than the material that I’m working on for my books.

I admit I’m not very good at effectively communicating my ideas sometimes. Some of my material is about as clear as mud. In the consulting business, we typically overcame this by having peer reviews of reports and proposals before they went out the front door. I’m winging it here at I’m Just Thinkin’. On top of that, blogging is a different style and venue, than the technical reports that we generated in environmental and engineering consulting.

There are a whole lot of people writing blogs these days, and many have different goals. You can read more about mine at my About page.

How do I try to appeal to a broad audience?

Well, for starters I try to leave my thoughts open, initially developing the concept, then leading up to the point were your imagination could find a connection to your individual situation or circumstances… I’ve read in a variety of places that’s the way it’s done here in the blogosphere. Am I being successful at this? That’s for all of you, my audience, to decide. I do receive compliments from people who tell me that I am accomplishing this goal. I also have friends that tell me they have a completely different impression of specific material than what I’ve intended. I will keep working on this.

I also know that my topics and style will not appeal to everyone. That’s ok, because not everyone would pick up a Charles Dickens book either (just sayin’).

Next time you communicate…

think first…

what is my intended goal?

and how do I reach my audience?

is my message going to be helpful?

and, most importantly, will it honor God?

What other thoughts do you have on effective communication?