Have you ever stopped to think about what makes you (your ministry) unique?
What makes you different from the other ministries on campus?
What do you have to offer students that might make your ministry the one for them?
In a couple of posts last week I focused on training and equipping our student leaders to know why we do what we do (Do Your Students Know?), as well as how what we do meets a specific need on campus (How We ‘Fit In’ On Campus). I made the case for spending some significant time during the early stages of our training with leaders for helping them to see the BIG picture and really commit to learning it for themselves.
And there’s still time for that!
But today I want to consider how we communicate some of these same things (ie. – purpose, mission, unique fit on campus, etc.) with new students.
Yesterday we participated in the Student Activities Fair on campus. I’m sure your campus has something like this… a time when organizations from on campus, and off, who have something to offer students (ie. – a way to be involved, a reason to come to their meeting, a job, a bank to hold your money, ways to spend your money, a good place near campus to eat, etc.) can set up a table and interact with students.
There are many things I like, and dislike, about this experience. One of the biggest challenges, I think, is the information overload that students experience as they weave their way through the maze of seemingly endless opportunities.
What this meant for us was that we had to be very intentional with a limited amount of time and words.
I’ve heard some people refer to this as ‘the elevator speech.’ As you’ve probably deduced, this is the amount and/or kind of information we might want to communicate over the course of a 30-90 second elevator ride. Our words need to be intentional, clear and pointed.
Of course, we want to be sincere in our conversation, because people are much more important that programs… we’re NOT trying to sell Jesus, or our ministry, to everyone we encounter.
But we do NEED to be prepared to answer the questions students might have about:
- who we are
- what we’re about
- what we do
- how they can get involved
Sometimes questions will be specific… and these will be easier to field on the fly.
But just as many questions will come in vague, general terms and, if we’ve not spent some time thinking about how we will answer them, we might find ourselves stumbling through the encounter, grasping for an answer — and ultimately giving students less than full confidence in us and/or our ministries.
SO, do you have an ‘elevator speech’?
Can you easily answer these questions:
- What makes you (your ministry) unique?
- What makes you different from the other ministries on campus?
- What do you have to offer students that might make your ministry the one for them?
Having thought through your answers to questions like these can make your next impromptu conversation with a student much more beneficial for the both of you!