I would dare to say that most worship leaders have a Love/Hate relationship with the time during the service when announcements are given. Some people call this the Announcements, but I’m more a fan of referring to this time as the Welcome.
This seems like a dumb, semantic difference, but as you’ll see, your word choice matters. For the purpose of this convo, lets go with the idea of this being “The Welcome,” and let me see if I can ESP myself into your situation for a moment:
More often than not, this time can be an agonizing 5 to 10 minutes (yes, FREAKING 10 MINUTES) where one of the staff pastors (because that’s the only person worthy of delivering important potluck news) will try out his new stand up routine with some basic event facts thrown in for good measure (if they remember).
Most people listening (if you can call it that) don’t really care or they find it really annoying that you would waste their time like this. Sure, the real church-goin’ folks don’t mind cause they’re conditioned to this ritual, but I would say that most people don’t find “The Welcome” to be very welcoming.
I used to think that this time during the service was just an unfortunate sacrifice to how things are, but two different breakouts at the last 2 Seeds Conferences have helped me to see how we can not only redeem this time, but maybe leverage it to make it one of the most helpful parts of our strategy for our first time guests.Check out these 8 SIMPLE THINGS you can use to make your Welcome AWESOME!Click To Tweet
I want to share with you a few of the best points that Angie, Gary, Whitney & Ethan shared with us that can help you make your Welcome awesome:
1. Have a Clear Win for The Welcome
If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, how will you know when you hit it? Your Welcome has to have a specific goal in mind. This will help guide you in what you will include and what you won’t include in this time.
By having this clear win, we can watch our Welcomes and know whether we are hitting the mark or not. And when we’re not hitting the mark, we have discrete data that we can look at to identify what isn’t right. Have a clear win for your welcome and you’ll know how to nail it every time.
2. Provide Clear Next Steps
Letting people know that a great event is coming up is only half the battle (also, stop saying that EVERYTHING is great. If you have to say it all the time, its probably not true #RealTalk). You have to know what the next step is for someone and you have to communicate it clearly.
We have this new class you want to sign up for, and you should do that on the iPad in the Lobby. You’ll definitely want to on this next Mission Trip with us, and you should talk with Amy in the Lobby to sign up. Doesn’t matter what the step is, just make sure you clearly communicate it.With announcements, know what the NEXT STEP is for someone & COMMUNICATE it CLEARLY.Click To Tweet
3. Learn How to Write Good Copy
You could have the best communicator in the world hosting your welcome, but if they don’t have the content to communicate, they’re sunk. This is why we have to get good at writing good copy, or the text used for an advertisement.
These 6 things will get you started:
- Write like you talk (use contractions, and try saying it out loud).
- Speak to a feeling that’s already there.
- Go easy on the adjectives, just be honest.
- Go easy on the details, use websites and tables for more details.
- Call things what they are, specifically.
- Tell people what you expect them to do, don’t use passive language and be direct.
4. Know Your Transitions
Transitions are where you make your money. Know how to transition from one topic to another, and PRACTICE it before hand. Transitions are probably the #1 thing that people try and wing and they almost always end up using lots of “Ums,” “Uhhs,” and “We’re gonna have a great time’s” to fill space til their brains catch up.
This doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have to be intentional. Also know how to get into the welcome and how to get out of the welcome. People tend to base their opinions of whether something is worth their time based on the takeoff and landing.
5. Craft Your Words & Body Language
I beat this like a dead horse around here, but words freaking matter. What you say and how you say it can impact the success of your welcome. Take the time to find the right words that need to be said, and then be intentional about making sure it is communicated just as clearly.
Also, take the time to work on your body language. You will ALWAYS be the most _________ of anyone in the room. Excited, invested, moved, you name it, YOU are the benchmark. Learn how you come off and how you can use that to your advantage while you’re on stage.WHAT you say and HOW you say it can impact the SUCCESS of your Welcome.Click To Tweet
6. ALWAYS Give Context
A bad habit that most church folk, especially us staff, can have is talking like you’re speaking to a room full of people who already know everyone at the church and everything about the church. You have to assume that there are people in the room that don’t know things that we think are standard.
They don’t know that “Sparkle” is your Women’s ministry, so say “At our women’s ministry, Sparkle . . .” to provide context. Make sure that you don’t just mention names of people, but let them know who they are, like our Lead Pastor, Matt Dawson.
Also, don’t forget about the hidden assumptions like how long the service is, what’s going to happen while they’re there, or even what the heck a series is. Take the time to casually give people context, like “As we continue this morning, we’re going to sing a little more and then we’re finishing our message series called Stop Attending Church where we’ve been talking about . . .”
7. Stop Using Insider Language
This is a huge pet peeve of mine. Again, us christian folk have a bad habit of filling space with Christianeese, mostly because we don’t know exactly what we’re going to say. Guilty. Also, using insider language really alienates any first time guests or others who might feel like they “aren’t part of the club.”
This has to become a discipline for whoever is speaking on stage, or you’re going to end up only speaking to insiders. Don’t joke about staff people, stop speaking over guests heads, and learn how to speak so that anyone could understand what you’re saying.
8. Watch the Game Tape
Finally, and probably most painfully, you have to consistently watch game tape of yourself or whoever is hosting the welcome. No one likes to watch themselves like this, but it is necessary if you want to understand how you come off on stage.
Don’t just watch yourself, but get feedback from others who know what you’re trying to do. You will not get better at this by accident, it takes intentional work through watching tape of yourself or others on your team.