“adam lambert, what just happened???”

So last night was the American Music Awards show.  I have to admit that I didn’t watch it.  why?  because I had much better things to do. {like anything other than watch that.}  I did, however, catch Lady Gaga’s number… which was CRAZY!  Fire on a piano?  Wow.  anyway, I woke up this morning, and got on the internet to see what the latest news-worthy stories were, and there it was: Adam Lambert, AI runner up, did a performance that became a dividing line between the artists and the family-friendly crowd.  People on twitter are still either praising him like crazy or ripping him to shreds over this one.  I’m not saying whether it was right or not… because if you knew me you would know what I think… but I am going to say this:  we live in a country where we possess the right to free speech.  I find it ironic that the people who fight tooth and nail for this right are the first ones that, when something offends them, cry for censorship. Folks, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.  It’s always going to be a double-edged sword.  we might as well accept that fact.  my other thought is this… if you are adult enough… why not just turn it off?  and if you’re kids were watching it, then maybe they should have been asleep in bed getting enough rest for school on monday?  just saying.

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when it all falls apart…

so let’s say that you are in the middle of your communication, whether it’s teaching on a sunday morning in church, pitching a presentation to a large corporation, or giving a graduation speech, and something goes wrong {your mic starts making funny noises, someone else’s mic makes funny noises, you start making funny noises, or someone does something VERY distracting} what do you do?  This is the dilemma of all communicators.  Nothing ever goes 100% right all the time.  Let me give you a couple of scenarios and then give some suggestions as to what you can do in handling them.

SCENARIO #1: so I’m speaking on a sunday morning during church and I notice out of the corner of my eye a commotion.  I continue speaking but I notice that the commotion is a group of people standing around an elderly lady who has passed out.  There are some who are fanning her off, some who are trying to lift her to her feet to take her out of the room, and some who are just being distracting by looking and whispering.  (it wasn’t a distraction to all b/c there are about 500 in the room)… what do you do?

SCENARIO #2: I’m speaking again on a sunday morning in church and all of a sudden there is a LOUD noise that seems to be coming from my microphone.  It sounds like a crackling, static noise.  Then, it happens for like 7 seconds straight.  I know that may not sound like a long time, but when you’re on a stage with lights blaring on you, and there are over 700 people with their eyes on you, it feels like an eternity.    what do you do?

SCENARIO #3: this one didn’t happen to me, but I’ve heard that it happened.  Let’s say you’re communicating to a large group of people and someone stands up and starts yelling and talking about you to the entire audience as loud as they can.  What do you do?

in case you were wondering, these things REALLY DO HAPPEN!

here are some suggestions to handle when things fall apart in communication:

1. stay calm.  panicking makes the situation seem and feel worse than it is.

2. ignore the situation.  sometimes the best thing to do is to ignore it and diesel through.

3. address the situation with humor.  I know this one is really based mostly on personality and how long you’ve been communicating, but sometimes the best thing to do is to make a joke about the situation to lighten the mood.

4. address the situation with seriousness.  Sometimes things happen and we need to stop, address the situation, and using as a teaching moment for the entire crowd.  SCENARIO #3 would be a perfect example to do so.

5. remember… it happens to everyone!

Whatever you do, don’t make the situation more awkward than it already is.  The more control over the situation you command, the more likely you will win the respect of your listeners.

communicators are bridge builders

Navajo_Bridges_1

(picture courtesy of www.nps.gov)

If you are a communicator, whether a coach, teacher, pastor, motivational speaker, etc… you have the amazing task of making connections for people.  you, in essence, are a bridge builder.  you help bridge the gulf between the listener and the information.  Everything about your communication is helping the listener connect; your facial expressions, your dress, your mannerisms, your body language, your inflections, your tone, your knowledge of the subject matter, your credibility.  All of these things will either get the listener to the information, or cause them to fall short of it into the great chasm of confusion.  The best question you can ever ask yourself as a communicator is “how can I help whoever is listening to me to CONNECT with what I am saying?”  You are a bridge builder.

leaders are learners

a few years back I was at a youth specialties conference in Nashville, TN and heard doug fields say something that has stuck with me since. He said, “Leaders are learners. if you’ve stopped learning, you’ve stopped leading.” There is just something about that statement that rings so true in the realm of leadership. There is always something that you can learn from any given situation, from books that you read, or people you are with. My journal is full of everyday leadership lessons that I gather from my own personal experiences, what I am learning from others around me, what I am learning through my interaction with scripture, and what I am reading. My thought in this is simple: I want to learn much to lead well. The day you give up on learning is the day you give up on leading.

So, what are you reading? Who are you learning from? How does that make you a better leader?