Thursday, October 25, 2012

President's Weekly letter.....

(1 Nephi 18:1)

Belgium/Netherlands Mission



Since this Operation Build a Stake was announced on September 19, 2012, we have baptized 17 through 21 Oct. 2012.  We have 433 to go.  Keep up the great work.

Our Temple Zone Conferences on the 16th and 17th were inspirational.  Going to the temple is always a treat.  We enjoyed training the Presentation Skills that afternoon.  It was fun.  The major points of the training follow.

Everyone makes prejudgments about people based on first impressions.  We are told never to pre-judge but it is an instinct that will probably always be part of human nature.  Likewise, people we meet pre-judge us based on first impressions.  Furthermore, our physical presentation behavior can either enhance or can be a distraction to people causing them to miss the spirit testifying to them.

Studies have shown the overall communication for an average person is 7% from the words that are spoken, 38% from the voice and 55% from visual.  We have the spirit that teaches and testifies as well.  Our challenge is to be good at our presentation skills to give the best chance possible for the spirit to have its affect.  We spend most of our practice time on the words we plan to speak.  It is worthy of our effort to be aware of and work to improve these other parts of communication.

A sales follow-up after a selection interview often goes like this:  “Your team came in with 3 or 4 ideas, really wet our whistle showing us what could be done with our project.  Congratulations, you are hired.”  What this statement really says is; it is about them not you.

The IFBP process works every time - Issues, Features, Benefits and Proofs. The ‘I’ is issues of the people you are talking to.  All people have issues - fears, concerns, problems, etc.  They do not want to hear about how great you are or how great what you are peddling is.  The ‘F’ is the Features of your proposal, i.e. of accepting the gospel and becoming baptized in the church.  The ‘B’ is connecting the dots between their Issues and your proposal’s Benefits.  People never connect the dots themselves.  So, as soon as possible, determine their Issues, and then specifically state or show how your Features will overcome their Issues.  The ‘P’ is your witness of how the Benefits of the gospel have resolved the same Issues for others.

The visual content of communication is essentially the body language of looking confident and eliminating distracting habits that people see on our countenance and in our presentation.  This consists of posture, stance, gestures, eye contact and facial expressions make up.  Good posture can best be remembered by tuck you rear, roll your shoulders back and lift the imaginary string tied to the top of your head.  Your stance should be attentive.  Arms and hands at your side or in a natural place but not folded.  Do not play with keys, coins, pick at your face or other nervous releases.  Hand gestures from the head signal intellectual, from the chest signal heart-felt and from the lower chest signals trust.  Lifting your chin, cheerful, smiling and steady eye contact is always a must.  Genuine and reasonable facial expressions make you interesting to listen to.

Voice content includes:  pitch, pace, pause, inflection and volume.  Nobody likes to listen to a monotone or a high pitch or a pitch that indicates a question after every sentence.  Points can be greatly reinforced if pace is fluctuated.  Pauses are powerful.  They give you time to collect your thoughts, your investigator to think and feel and they give points time to sink in.  Inflection makes you more interesting to listen to and changes the whole meaning of sentences.  Volume variation emphasizes points.

Teaching with the spirit the doctrines out of PMG and the scriptures is the key to conversion.  The Quorum of 12 Apostles (PMG p. 29) wrote:

“Our purpose is to teach the message of the restored gospel in such a way as to allow the Spirit to direct both the missionaries and those being taught.”

When Nephi and Lehi, sons of Helaman preached we read:

“…they did preach with great power, insomuch that they did confound many of those dissenters…Nephi and Lehi did preach unto the Lamanites with such great power and authority, for they had power and authority given unto them that they might speak, and they also had what they should speak given unto them.  Therefore they did speak unto the great astonishment of the Lamanites, to the convincing them…”  (Helaman 5:17, 18-19)

I cannot visualize members of the Quorum of 12 Apostles or Nephi and Lehi preaching with such success while using sloppy or distracting visual and voice presentation quirks and habits.  We need to become good at what we do and what we have control over.  We cannot control the spirit, but we can learn the lessons, purify ourselves so we are eligible for the spirit and work hard.  We also need to work on and improve our presentation skills to enhance our effectiveness in teaching.

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