The Communication Marathon, Part II


In my last post, I mentioned that the motivational speaker the night before the Country Music marathon in Nashville gave us some incredible advice that translates well into church communications.
After asking, “Who here expects to win tomorrow?” (Part I), and encouraging us to run our own race,  John “The Penguin” Bingham told us an incredibly hilarious story about a woman finishing a race, but you have to wait for the next installment to hear that story.  It will be worth coming back for, trust me.

John coaches runners and runs the race with them.  For people like me who are far behind his pace, he stays at the finish line and runs in with them – every one of them.  He was there six hours after I started my race, running in the last few steps with me.  I was dragging my right leg behind me, having pulled my glute at about the 16 mile mark.  John called out, “Run it in!”  I replied, almost in tears, “I can’t!” John said simply, “For the picture!”  I summoned all of the strength I had left, faked a smile, and lifted my knees just enough to make it appear that I was running as I crossed the finish line.
There is so much leadership advice wrapped up in his act of encouraging each finisher right to the end, but here’s the communication advice:

Figure out what matters to your audience.

At this point in the race, telling me to go faster because it would improve my time would not be motivational.  I left my hopes for finishing in 5 1/2 hours at the 16 mile mark.  John didn’t say run it in for the win or for the crowd.  He told me to run it in for the picture.  This is the picture that would be posted on the internet for everyone to see, and you don’t want a picture of yourself dragging your lame leg across the line.  Everything in my body wanted to collapse, but instead I ran.  For the picture.

What are you doing to figure out what matters to your audience?


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