I want to revisit yesterday’s post for a minute. The bias conversation is just too important to be short-changed.
I think the key to understanding audience bias is thinking about yourself as an audience member. When you read a book, watch a commercial, see a magazine ad, or listen to a talk, you measure those ideas against what you already know. Of course you do.
What happens when your church communicates on one of those topics church communicate about? Your audience is measuring your ideas, stories, and propositions against what they already know.
Think about the topics churches address: faith, doctrine, money, morality, mission, service, marriage, parenting, sex, and the origins of the universe. Now, tell me, do you think people might have any preconceived notions, assumptions, traditions, or aversions to those topics?
They might, right? Scratch that. They definitely will, right?
That doesn’t mean you should avoid any of those topics — not in the least. But it does mean you have a responsibility as a communicator to anticipate possible biases, empathize with them, and craft messages informed by them. Anything less from us indicates we’re ignorant, stubborn, or both. See, ignoring biases is, in effect, ignoring your audience.
Our mission is to communicate well and reach people, and we can’t do that by ignoring the people we’re called to serve.
Scott McClellan is the Editor of Echo Hub and the Director of Echo Conference. You can follow him on Twitter: @scottmcclellan.
Photo props: Kimberlee Kessler Design