Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Keep It Interesting

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A few weeks ago while in Fort Worth for my sister's wedding, I was running along a sidewalk. I noted that periodically along the two-mile road I was traversing, the sidewalk would curve away from the road in a lazy arc and then return to its original position paralleling the street.
This intrigued me, because there was no reason to alter the otherwise straight sidewalk. There were no trees to circumvent, no bus stops to bypass, no fire hydrants to avoid. My guess was that the designers were simply seeking to keep it interesting.

As a communicator I believe that as long as I keep the communication style interesting, listeners and readers will keep their attention targeted to my message.

As soon as my style becomes less than engaging, I lose the audience. So I seek to keep it interesting.

Several years ago as a youth pastor, I was speaking to over 150 high school students in a meeting at our church. Seated in the crowd was a young lady who was deaf. In front of her with her back turned away from me was her sign-language interpreter.

As I recall the evening, I felt like I was on my "A" game. I was dynamic. I was engaging. I was funny. I had a rhythm going. I knew it was going to be a powerful message with a powerful ending and a powerful response.

About two-thirds of the way through my talk, the deaf student put up her hand to catch my attention. When she knew that I was looking at her, she took her index finger and placed it next to her nose in a drilling motion on her face.

I assumed she was complementing me in her own way. Wow! I thought: I am communicating at a level that even those who can't hear are getting it! With renewed passion I continued to be my engaging self, delivering an incredibly compelling message.

As the evening was winding down, I sought out the interpreter and asked her what this sign meant (as I mimicked the deaf student).

"Boring" was her reply.

Ouch! My deflated self gathered whatever dignity I had left and slumped away from the conversation.

It was then that I determined to use whatever means necessary to not only assume that I was dynamic, engaging, funny, interesting, informative, and challenging. I was going to work at it. I purposed to keep it interesting.

I may not succeed every time I preach, teach, write, or converse. But I do keep an eye open for the strategically placed index finger on the face of one of my listeners.

Question: What do you do to Keep It Interesting Share your thoughts below in 'comments'.

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