“People don’t listen to announcements. They just aren’t paying attention.”
That was a common problem I had each week when I was serving full-time at a church. I would make announcements on stage and then people would come to me and ask a question that was clearly announced an hour ago ! How frustrating!
First I blamed them. Then I blamed the last minute announcements that would show up in my hand on a post-it note or written on a torn off corner of the bulletin.
Then I started to wonder… could it be the way I’m doing announcements?
Is there a better way?
Could I take what I’ve learned from #AskAdam in the Church Communications Group and what I’ve learned from my training at StoryBrand and fuse them together to make my 3 minutes a week more effective?
I came up with 4 things that could improve my weekly announcements and it seemed to work.
1. Start with the problem.
We do events for a reason… hopefully. When we announce an event we should start with the problem that event solves.
For example, your church may have hosted a Super Bowl event for men this past year. Here’s how we typically announce it: “Hey guys, come watch football, eat some food, and hang out with us.”
If we start by addressing the problem first, this is what it would sound like:
“A lot of men struggle to get to know other men in the church which makes them feel disconnected. We want to invite you this Sunday to watch some football, eat some meat, and get to know a few other guys in the church you may have never met before…”
When we start with the problem first, we set a hook. The problem gets our audience’s attention. BTW, This is also a great way to being a sermon.
BONUS POINTS & SIDE NOTE: When hosting events like this for men… offer free childcare. Turn this event for men into a way men can serve their wives by getting the kids out of the house for a while too. Otherwise, when women hear “event for men” they hear “you’re stuck with the kids by yourself.”
2. What does success look like?
When you announce an event, not only should you start with the problem, you should finish with the success.
What is the positive result if people attend this event, or do this thing, or donate time/money to this?
Back to our super bowl example:
“A lot of men struggle to get to know other men in the church which makes them feel disconnected. We want to invite you this Sunday to watch some football, eat some meat, and get to know a few other guys in the church you may have never met before. Not only are you going to have a great time but you’re also going to leave with new friends and deeper connections.”
3. Keep it to the top 2-3.
For some reason we step on the stage and start spilling the beans for 6-7 minutes.
I would get on stage and think I had to tell everyone about everything that has and will ever happen at the church. That’s what your website, bulletin, screen graphics and connection table are for.
You should limit your announcements to the top 2… maybe top 3, if you have to.
By limiting the announcements you promote on stage, there’s a better chance people will remember them and actually engage.
4. Write your announcement BEFORE you plan the event.
When you consider the problem and the success of your announcement, it sort of serves as a vision statement for that event. What you’re really doing is writing out why you’re doing this event and what should the end result look like.
This really comes in handy when you’re planning your event. It keeps you focused and intentional as you plan around your announcement.
Sometimes we get even better ideas for our event. Sometimes it helps us consider canceling the event altogether.