Communicating with Word Pictures
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” Matthew 7:24-25 ESV
Communicating well can be difficult for Kingdom leaders. “What we have here is a failure to communicate” is heard all too frequently. As a team leader you are often casting vision and futuristic concepts that for you may seem crystal clear, but for your hearers they are a thick fog. How can you cut through the fog and help those around you see it as clearly as you do?
One key to good communication, especially when dealing with abstract or complex topics is to learn to speak in word pictures. Taking the complex and ‘putting a handle’ on it so that it is easy to grasp is a learned skill. Like all skills, you can get good at it and when you do, you will find yourself being quoted because your communication is memorable.
Note how Jesus ended His most famous sermon – the Sermon on the Mount. In the reference above He closed with a word picture of a person building a house on two different types of foundations. The key word is “like” which introduces the simile that follows. Those who hear His words and obey them are ‘like’ a wise man who built on a rock. ‘Like’ transitions from concept to word picture that makes the abstract more concrete in the minds of His audience.
As you talk about your mission and vision, learn to use word pictures, similes that will help your audience better understand and remember key points and concepts. Here’s an example that I use to explain the difference between mission and vision for Kingdom leaders.
Mission Statement – This answers the question, “Why do we exist?” This is first and foremost in strategic leading. It’s like a picture frame on the wall of the Kingdom that separates and defines who we are from what others are. It is our task and our identity.
Vision Statement – This is where we want to go in the future – our destination. It is the picture of the future of our desired future state that we see by faith. It’s the picture that is placed into the picture frame of our mission. It is this future vision that we will begin to work towards and bring into reality by His grace and power.
Train yourself to communicate in simple, easy to understand word pictures. Your influence will grow and your communications will ‘stick.’