When studying some material that is currently out there on the market regarding communicating in today’s world I ran across something called “The Cemetery Syndrome.” All public speakers know about this syndrom whether they are motivational speakers, pastors preaching from a pulpit, someone training staff in a boardroom or simply someone sharing the Gospel with others.
The Cemetery Syndrome states: Lots of people are out there, but nobody is listening.
To overcome this problem – and it is a problem when believers are working at fulfilling the Church’s mandate to “seek and save the lost” – we need to ‘connect’ with the people we are about the speak to or share with. We need to ‘connect’ on a heart level (feelings and important life issues) before we can ever hope to connect on a head level (share important and life-changing information). Good ‘connectors’ also manage to set people at ease so that they are open to listening to what they have to say.
Here are some hints to help you, a believer, ‘connect’ with your audience when you are following Jesus and fishing for people as He said we would. These are suggestions that allow us to ‘connect’ and earn the right to be heard – sort of the way to wake up the dead and defeat The Cemetery Syndrome.
1> Work at adjusting and changing your personality, mannerisms, and approach to people so that you have the ability to make others feel comfortable.
2> Always appear to be confident and at ease. Never come across nervous or uptight.
3> Have an ability to laugh at yourself (not at others).
4> Show interest in others; maintain eye contact, self-disclose, ask questions, and actively listen.
5> Extend yourself to those you are wanting to connect with – lean into a greeting with a firm handshake and a smile.
6> Convey a sense of energy and enthusiasm – a joie de vivre.
7> Be well rounded, well informed, and well-mannered.
8> Prepare short stories of actual experiences that are interesting, humorous, and appropriate.
9> Maintain an infectious enthusiasm.
10> Convey respect and genuinely like people – the core of connecting and communicating.
(Adapted from a list called “magnificent minglers” by Susan RoAne)
Remember, when trying to share and communicate THE most important message on the earth we need to represent Jesus well and do what He did … and He did all of the above. And, as a result, He connected and communicated.