In a previous post, I challenged you to consider how you’re living life … aimlessly or on purpose? The challenge was taken from these words of the apostle Paul:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
For those of us who are in the communication business, I’d like to reframe the challenge: are you an aimless communicator?
I’m not sure how many sermons, presentations, or classes I’ve sat through in my lifetime. My guess is, I’ve sat through enough to skip purgatory and go straight to heaven (that is, if I believed in purgatory).
Here’s a common mistake I’ve noticed and been guilty of myself: thirty minutes of talking with no clear direction or purpose. That’s not to say the content was bad or incorrect. Indeed, most of the sermons included a lot of Bible verses. That’s pretty good content.
Unfortunately, the sermon or presentation wasn’t clear about what it wanted me to do, change, start, or stop. It was aimless.
Five minutes of following this good thought followed by seven or eight minutes of following this other good thought followed by two or three minutes of a rabbit trail followed by … and then it’s over!
If I had thirty minutes to kill and just wanted to take a stroll, I would find a park. But that’s not the point of a sermon or business pitch or classroom lesson.
The point is to have a point, a direction.
It’s why I often start my sermons by saying right up front, “The main thing I want to talk about this morning is …” That’s another way of saying, “Here’s where we’re going and where we hope to arrive.”
Aimless communication produces aimless results.
It’s better to chart a path and stick to it.