today’s secret…2 questions and 8 words.

You’re committed to helping those who live on the fringes of society. No ifs, ands, or buts, this is tough.

You are a lifetime behind when you start working with them. Mix in your limited time and financial resources and you have a serious catch-up problem.

Most answers to catching up is to cram in key chunks of information as quickly as possible to them.

Unfortunately, this results in the ‘communicated to’ retaining little of the lot that was shared.

I can help.

Recently a visiting pastor at my church gave an emotional sermon. Lots of key points, podium walking, hand waving, prayer, scriptures, etc.

Driving home I realized that I had enjoyed his sermon, but I did not have a takeaway that mattered. No main idea had velcroed into my brain. I did not know the big-God-dot he wanted me to connect.

That next Sunday I began a new church journal. I have maintained it for over a year now. The journal contains a series of eight-word sentences summarizing the main point of the sermons I had heard each Sunday.

Why eight words? The number eight has a certain rhythm to it. A well-written eight-word sentence has just enough juice to stick in the brain. Ask Steinbeck. Ask Hemingway.

Sometimes these eight words turn into nine or ten. Sometimes six. It depends on the depth of the sermon, whether I choose to count some sight words like ‘the’ or prepositions such as ‘of’…or how hungry I am after the service.

Anyway, to create those eight words I ask and answer two key questions I think the pastor should answer if asked.

So what? What now?

So what? What is it the pastor wants me to know?
What now? What does he want me to do about it?

You are helping people change their lives. I would ask you to review each of the communication chunks you must share to do what you do and answer these same two questions.

So what? What is it you want them to know?
What now? What do you want them to do about it?

See if you can answer each question in eight words or less.

This will help you develop your own communication journal of your key communication ideas.

Over time, I think you will be surprised how this will help.