Just Enough, Just in Time

We have more data than we could realistically organize, tag, filter, or view. The shift from the Information Age to the Connection Age is at hand, where our networks have proliferated to the point where we suffer from a glut of input delivered at an ever-increasing pace. We are now forced to choose which pieces of the data we want to view. From financial giving data to weekend attendance reporting to small group and volunteer involvement data, and on through the endless emails on our mobile devices about our kid’s recitals, PTA meetings, Amazon specials, and the obscene amount of pure email spam, each of us must choose how much input we are willing to actually use. So, how do you choose? And how are you communicating those choices? We’ve likely all been taught the Eisenhower Matrix (a.k.a. the Priority Matrix) below. We know that things which are truly urgent are few, but things that are important are in  volume, but we often still act like others need to respond to our stuff as urgent. This kind of e-bullying eschews our real priorities and makes our priorities someone else’s emergencies. As a guy who deals with communications as a large part of my job, I see more than a few “urgent” emails subject lines. Sometimes, others use the more subtle approach of urgent synonyms within their emails (“I have a pressing need” or “this is a high-priority project” or “we need to get to this ASAP”). When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. To quote Bob Newhart: “Stop it!” We’re all busy…and that’s part of the problem. Are...

Video Projection Screen Size & Brightness Formulas Cheat Sheet

I suppose it’s from my many years in the Technical Arts, but I am still frequently asked about how to determine the correct screen size and brightness for video projection. I’ve taken some of my writing on the subject and created a ‘cheat sheet’ of sorts that provides some of the basic formulas and examples of how it all works in the real world. This post will be where I henceforth send anyone asking for these kinds of questions, as the few simple formulas are eye-opening and require only simple math. – Anthony Coppedge   While we live in world with finite budgets, we also live in a world with finite physics; our budgets cannot wish physics away, so we must either determine to adjust light levels (if and when possible) or spend more to overcome the physics of light. It’s math, not finances, that determine your needs. Adjust accordingly. The basic math formulas for calculating projection needs: Determine screen placement Sight lines are paramount in determining screen location. Make sure everyone (especially those far away) have a clear, unobstructed view of the screen. In many situation, more than one screen is required. I won’t go into screen viewing angles, but keep in mind that anything beyond 45 degrees (horizontal or vertical) will fatigue the eye. In many venues, the angle of the side walls is insufficient to simply mount the screens flush. It is advisable to mount the screens (assuming front projection) at a greater angle to face across the room the the far side from the screen. Otherwise, if the screens are facing the side of the audience...

Stop Failing to Plan – Start a Content Strategy

In addition to business consulting, I’ve spent a great deal of time in the non-profit organization and local church space. I recently found that the team at Monk Development created a well-documented white paper on “Content Strategy and The Church” that I have deconstructed for the purpose of considering their research and findings. This is a business-savvy, researched white paper that at a mere 15 pages is a worthy read. Here are my observations based on their work. Churches, almost regardless of size, act a lot like small ‘mom-and-pop’ businesses; they go with the flow, opportunistically taking advantage of their audience through minimally prepared communications aimed at the most urgent needs. Even a small modicum of strategic planning would aid considerably in aligning the mission of the church with the opportunities in their communities. In the online marketing world, the emphasis has shifted from promoting constantly to mapping out a content strategy to specific, targeted people-segments. You’ve no doubt experienced this when you’ve searched for a product only to realize advertisements for that product are suddenly showing up frequently – and seemingly everywhere you go online. That’s not a coincidence; that’s a targeted marketing strategy. In a potentially less creepy fashion, churches (or non-profits or businesses) can create content that connects with certain demographics and brings them back for more helpful content and connections. When organizations utilize a content strategy to not only create an interest in/attendance of/participation in activities, the measurable results provide new growth opportunities. Stated simply: A content strategy allows leaders to consistently connect people with the organization’s mission, vision, and values. WINGING IT Of the surveyed churches...

Why People Hate Most of Your Church Communications

The greatest message ever shared. The most important person in all of history. The most helpful resources available. Yeah, the church has all of that and should be excited about helping people find freedom and live changed lives. But, more information from your local church isn’t helping. We’re inundated with information. We’re deluged by data. What we don’t need to know is how much more stuff your church has to offer. If anything, we need less. A. Lot. Less. Less isn’t zero, but when you start with zero as the assumed baseline of what must be communicated, it is a helpful re-orientation towards re-imagining what your church should be communicating. What Churches Over-communicate If I started by listing the Top 10 things churches over-communicate, it would be a list missing the other 90 Top Things. Seriously, the issue is not the information; it’s the thinking that assumes we need more information. Ask this question of a random sampling of church staff: “What is the purpose of our church communications?” You will likely hear their personal ministry/department preferences, or about getting people involved in a particular event or activity, or something along the lines of living out the Great Commission. Sadly, none of these will help make the most important connection your audience really needs because a broadcasted message isn’t going to replace a personal connection. Sure, you might promote something that provides the opportunity for people to get connected (good!), but unless you happen to be able to reach the right person at the right time in the right way, the connection you’re offering to make will not be acted upon. When...

4 Types of Church Video Venues

Once churches discovered the value of video, the multi-site and satellite campus model went from a handful of mega churches to tens of thousands of churches. With this explosion of multi-site churches, a separate venue utilized as another service style option – or even just a simple way to make more room –  has also been gaining popularity on existing church campuses. In both cases, I have found that there are 4 types of church video venues. For churches considering video venues or multi-site campuses, I am presenting these 4 types of video venues as helpful research that looks beyond the venue to the technology and logistics required for effective services. Type 1 – Overflow Video Venue Growing churches will find themselves running out of space in their main meeting venue. A seemingly simple step is to open up another part of the facility, run a video and audio cable to the room and fire up a projector and portable sound system. Voila! A “video venue” is born. Well, not really. While the concept of space-sharing is great, the implementation of the technology and the logistics of planning are often overlooked. Years ago, a church I volunteered for did this for what I’d euphemistically dub a ‘family friendly service venue.’  The reality is that they didn’t want to let kids into the main service, so they had those families attend an overflow area in their 300-seat chapel. The music feed from the main auditorium sounded great. The video looked pristine. The lighting was appropriate. But it failed – miserably. So what was the problem? Authority and leadership. When a video venue is used as an overflow area (or family friendly service)...

Church Product Highlight: Work Standing or Sitting with Dual Monitors

I work with a lot of creatives in churches over the years who spend many hours working with dual computer monitors as part of their job, so when I find an innovative product that’s priced inexpensively, I like to share it with my church friends. Today, I’m highlighting what I think is a huge innovation in something as simple as mounting two computer monitors: the Chief Manufacturing K1D220S. Personally, I am a fan of both standing and sitting when spending hours in front of a computer, but making it easy use my dual monitors in both standing and sitting configurations has been a pain (both figuratively and literally). Plus, I sometimes am in serious writing mode and like to use the Portrait mode for one of my monitors, but that too is cumbersome, even with built-in rotating stands. The K1D220S, highlighted recently at the 2014 Infocomm expo, is crazy cool and perfectly practical, a difficult combination to pull of. Some serious engineering went into this, and the ease of use is testament to tremendous forethought and great design. Here’s what I think my church friends will appreciate: Almost zero effort, fingertip-touch height, rotation, and tilt adjustments. Stand-up or sit down work modes. Dual or independent Landscape and Portrait rotation. Built-in hidden cable management. Super easy installation and quick-release levers. Check out the pictures and video below that demonstrate this particular model. They also offer wall-mount and pole-mount options (see those here). I’ve long been a fan of Chief, and this latest innovation continues to impress me. Plus, at less than $300, this is a tremendous value and significant productivity-enhancer for church staff...