Five-Minute Mentoring: Knowing Your Audience

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In this episode of Five-Minute Mentoring, we explore knowing your audience and why it may be one of your best ways to gain respect from both parents and church members while creating stronger relationships with young people.

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Kirsten Knox:  00:08

Welcome to the Making Sense of ministry podcast. The podcast designed to help you lead well in your ministry transform lives and impact generations. I’m Kirsten Knox here with another five minute mentoring episode. So today I’m here with you talking about how knowing your audience can greatly impact your credibility as a leader. Being intentional about knowing your audience is one sure way to help you gain credibility with those you lead, and not knowing your audience will cause you to lose credibility fast.

Kirsten Knox:  00:41

Have you ever wondered how you could gain more credibility with those you lead? Maybe often you feel like parents or your supervisor is second guessing your decisions. Or maybe you wonder why often it feels like you aren’t being treated like a professional. Perhaps you have a credibility problem. Or maybe you are newer in your position and looking for ways to gain credibility with those you lead. First, you want to understand the different audiences you serve.

In ministry, you serve a number of audiences and generations, it’s easy to focus on the primary audience you serve and forget about the other audiences. For example, if you are a children’s minister, it is easy to focus on building credibility and trust with children and their parents. If you only focus on these two audiences, you will always struggle with gaining credibility within the church and the community.

Kirsten Knox:  01:38

As the children’s Minister you have multiple audiences you serve. Of course, children and parents are two of your audiences. But there are more the congregation, church leadership, key influencers in the church, other staff members in the community are important audiences to remember. Think of it this way. As the leader of the ministry, you are responsible for telling the narrative of the ministry to each of these audiences. When you do this, you’ll notice your credibility increases.

I wonder for you, which audience oftentimes gets neglected? As you ponder that question, create one or two ways you can tell the narrative of your ministry to that audience this month. Once you find the best ways to communicate with each audience, it’s not a one and done, repetition is key. Once you identify your audiences in your context, the second thing you want to do is adjust your communication style for each audience. In communication, one size doesn’t fit all.

Kirsten Knox:  02:40

When you are sending a message to those in your professional setting, through email, text or promotional material. Be mindful of your audience. This is going to help you determine a couple key things. It will help you determine the style in which you write and the level of formality, it will change based on your audience. If you have texted a student lately, you may have wondered when one sentence starts and the other ends. If you’re like me, maybe you’ve had to read it a couple of times, because it is common for them not to use punctuation or capital letters. If you’re writing a student, you can match their style. However, if you are texting an adult use punctuation and capital letters. This may seem like a small thing, but it will increase your credibility and raise the level of professionalism of your ministry. Effective leaders adjust their style of communication per audience.

Kirsten Knox:  03:39

Not only will knowing your audience help you determine how you communicate, you also want to adjust how you dress. Some days you’re playing on the ground with kids or outside play messy games with students. Other days you’re in the office working and having meetings with your coworkers and supervisor. And then other days you find yourself working as you attend school plays, sporting events and more. And then on other working days you are at worship on Sunday mornings.

When I first started in youth ministry, I remember wondering as the leader how to dress at these different functions. I was young and leading adults twice my age, I knew how I dress would impact my credibility. This was my first professional job and I was really trying to discern how casual or formal I needed to dress. I had a mentor say to me when you are trying to decide the appropriate dress attire for different functions, dress equal to those you are meeting with. That makes sense to me. And it helped me many times in the last 20 plus years of ministry, what you wear, communicate something, be intentional about what you want to communicate.

Kirsten Knox:  04:50

At a youth minister say to me once they just treat me like a big kid, meaning the adults in the church. I asked a few questions to help me understand more about what he was experiencing in that conversation I realized he lived in shirts and T shirts. I encouraged him to adjust his attire based on the setting and audience. He noticed when he made this change, people experienced him differently and his credibility grew within the church. Leaders who gain credibility and build trust within their ministries are intentional about knowing their audience and making adjustments accordingly. Well, friends that’s it for today’s five-minute mentoring episode. I hope we’ve helped you make sense of this thing we call ministry.

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