We were pushing through a set up for a show that was pretty complex; but, since I knew the gear and console workflow well, I was moving extremely quickly. Input names were in place, groups and DCA’s were routed and mics and instruments were patched correctly and methodically because my approach and technique was that of someone who was fairly seasoned and experienced.
On Sunday, one of our volunteers was struggling to figure out why the console wasn’t passing audio to the mains. The channel was registering that signal was passing through the channel, but he was perplexed as to why he couldn’t hear it. Many of you, are thinking, “well, was it routed correctly?” It wasn’t routed correctly and it was easy for me to see because I knew the process well. It was a good moment for teaching troubleshooting and procedure in a real world situation where results were immediately apparent once I explained it.
It’s easy for experienced technical directors and production techs to glaze over the small steps or get frustrated when less experienced people don’t do exactly what we want. But, if we haven’t clearly defined what we want, we are doing them a disservice and we’ve failed as a leader in what we’re doing. Sure, there’s a certain level of experience that we need for specific events and that’s fine. But, we also need to make sure that we’re training new people from whatever level they are on, even if that means from the ground up, and raising up new people to fill the roles of a growing ministry.
Here’s my plan of attack moving forward:
1. Define The Goal
When new people want to get involved, we need to have defined goals and steps laid out. I need to verbalize and set the standards for what is important and what we want the end product to look like. This should be applied to shows, services, presentations and organization.
2. Define the Steps, Technique and Jargon
As I mentioned earlier, not everyone understands how to get to the goal I shooting for. Some may understand the process and technique but might not understand how to communicate it and some may be able to communicate well and show an understanding but get terrible results. The key is to make sure that I know how approach people from both angles. Personally, I can get the necessary results, but struggle more with explaining to others how to get there. I need to learn to unlearn some of the advanced techniques and terminology and get back to the very definitions of what I’m doing and the steps of the processes I’m employing. That doesn’t mean I’m supposed to overwhelm someone and deluge them with everything I know and expect them to run a large format show right away simply because I explained everything, but it does mean that everything can be broken down into smaller, easier and more palatable words, phrases and definitions so that people can grasp what I’m talking about and thereby learn and grow.
3. Define Commitment
This should be a given and I believe it will develop from getting the other two right. If I organize my goals and explain why those goals are important and how important the volunteers who take those conceptual goals and make them a reality, it will help develop a deeper commitment and “buy-in” into what we’re doing in our specific area of ministry.
This is definitely a discussion-based article that I’m looking for feedback (ha…audio guy joke) on. Comments are certainly welcomed here. Let’s here thoughts and critiques…I’m learning along with the rest of you and I’m all ears!