I found this website some time ago. There is so much good material I really
can’t begin to post it all. Please go to the link below and look around. I
have asked for permission to use this material, here is a sample.
How To Communicate Effectively
From the Grand Lodge of Maine – Hiram’s Handbook
How many times have you heard the old excuse from previous Masters: Well,
if they would just read the trestleboard, they would have known about it or
I put it in the trestleboard and announced it at our last stated meeting?
In todays society, you must communicate effectively if you wish to
accomplish the goals and objectives you have established for yourself and
the Lodge. Relying on techniques that are traditional and only partially
successful will leave you with an empty Lodge and an uncommitted membership.
You must communicate effectively with your membership if your goal is to
build an active and growing Lodge. There are many types of communications:
verbal, written, word of mouth, body language, appearance and listening.
Each is important if you are going to communicate the three principal tenets
of Freemasonry: brotherly love, relief and truth.
A. VERBAL COMMUNICATIONS
Effective public speaking by the Master and his Officers is a necessity to
properly communicate with the membership and their families. Many Masters
neglect to develop this important skill, and when placed in front of their
public, fail to communicate their goals and programs. They fail to recognize
that leadership requires effective and persuasive verbal communications.
Would you follow a leader who cannot verbally inspire you to greater effort?
What would you think of a Master who stumbles and mumbles when placed before
a group of people? The answer obvious. You will shake your head with pity
and wait for another year. Dont let that person be you.
Reciting ritual during our degrees will help you in developing some speaking
ability. However, ritual is simply memory work that is drilled into ones
mind and performed repeatedly during practices and degrees. Public speaking
requires different skills that can be developed through training and
Very few people in this world can be classified as natural public
speakers. In almost every instance when you have heard someone deliver an
effective speech, that person has taken the time and effort to prepare
himself to communicate effectively.
Remember that everyone starts at the bottom, everyone has problems with
public speaking and everyone can benefit from further practice and
instruction. You may never be the best public speaker, but you can certainly
improve. Take the time and make the effort to develop your thoughts, to jot
down an outline and to think though it until you have found the words you
are comfortable with. You will never regret the time and effort expended,
and your members, employer and friends will certainly appreciate your new
B. WRITTEN COMMUNICATIONS
It is not possible to communicate verbally with your entire membership. You
must rely on written materials to get your message out to and be understood
by those you wish to reach. The quality and style of your written
communications will determine whether or not the materials are actually
1. The Trestleboard
Reflect back during your years as a junior officer. Did you read your
monthly trestleboard? If not, why not? Was it relevant to the actual
activities of your Lodge? Take the time to review the actual materials that
are included in the trestleboard. Are they necessary? Are the contents
interesting and stimulating to read? If the answer is no, then you must do
something about it because the response of your membership will be the same.
The following are some helpful hints regarding the publication of an
1. Eliminate the garbage. Some information need not be duplicated
month after month, and year after year. Select only those materials that
people will actually enjoy reading.
2. Select a format that will attract the readers interest. Small type
that is not easily read will save you printing costs, but it will also
insure that your trestleboard will quickly find its final destination, with
the other junk mail, in the nearest wastebasket.
3. Utilize representative graphics when possible to attract the
readers attention and to accentuate the writers purpose.
4. Accentuate the positive! All messages and articles should make the
reader want to be a part of the good times that are occurring within your
Lodge. Talk about your past, present and future activities in a positive
manner. Nobody wants to join in or be part of a negatively oriented Lodge.
5. Check the final product. Poor quality paper, graphics and production
will lead straight to the wastebasket.
6. Plan your monthly production cycle to insure that your readers have
the materials in their hands at least two weeks prior to your next stated
meeting. A late trestleboard is the same as no trestleboard.
7. Invite your membership to submit, for publication, guest articles on
different items of interest.
2. Special Mailers
The trestleboard is a poor vehicle for some information that must actually
be read and understood by the membership. The following are examples of
alternate means of written communications that you should consider.
a. Special Events
Grand Master visitations, picnics, receptions, fund raisers, etc. require a
special type of notification to the membership. A special flier with fun
graphics will command attention for your fund raising or social events that
may otherwise be forgotten in a trestleboard long thrown away.
b. Goals and Objectives
Utilize a special mailer, which includes the entire package of the results
of your teams efforts, to insure that each member is aware of the
established goals and objectives pf the Lodge. Your membership will read
materials that are in letter form and well produced.
c. Signs and Posters
All who enter your Lodge should be immediately struck with a graphic display
of upcoming special and/or social events planned by the Lodge. Leave nothing
to chance. Constant reminders by the trestleboard, letters and posters will
effectively promote your activities and assist in achieving success, not
only for your Lodge, but for you as Master.
C. PERSONAL COMMUNICATIONS
Each person communicates messages to others by the very manner in which he
dresses, acts and looks. Take care to see that you are communicating the
proper message to those that you wish to influence. The following are some
1. Word of Mouth
Your example as Master of the Lodge will be communicated rapidly throughout
your Lodge. Human nature, being what it is, will insure that everyone will
become informed, either positively or negatively, of your actions. The trick
is to accentuate the positive. By doing so, you set the climate for others
to do likewise.
Every Lodge and every organization has its share of nay-sayers. If you
listen and react to those who display a negative attitude, you will also
become infected with that frame of reference and the entire Lodge will
suffer. On one hand, you have been told to discuss your problems and yet, on
the other hand, we want you to accentuate the positive. Are the two
directions compatible? They most certainly are. Discussing problems places
everything on the table.
There is no further need to discuss the negative aspects of your Lodge. Your
goals and objectives together with your plans of action are all that now
need to be discussed. Discussing solutions to your problems is the finest
way to accentuate the positive. If you communicate positively you will
find all the brethren communicating by word of mouth the positive aspects
of your Lodge.
Positive thinking infects others with a positive attitude. Even those who do
not attend Lodge regularly will be proud of your accomplishments. Our
fraternity is essentially a social organization designed to provide
happiness and brotherly love. If negative thinking has seeped into your
Lodge, change it. A successful Lodge is a positive, forward moving Lodge.
Act now and insure that all word of mouth communications are positive.
2. Body Language
Communication is more than the written and/or spoken word. Many times we
tell others more about ourselves and our attitude by the way we look and
act. Emotions of anger, disappointment and frustration, if they are apparent
to the membership, not by your words, but by the manner in which you
communicate with your body and facial expressions, will create a similar
atmosphere within your Lodge. Likewise, if you communicate confidence,
satisfaction, and brotherly love by your actions, those positive emotions
will also infect the brethren. Who will ever follow a leader whose words say
charge, but whose appearance and demeanor indicates
Changing your body language is easy to say, but hard to do. To be
successful, you must continually consider how your attitude and actions will
effect your brethren. Every Master has problems and frustrations. The plain
facts are that your burden will become heavier and the response of the
membership lighter if you communicate disappointment and frustrations.
If you are going to lead the troops out of the trenches and up the hill, you
must communicate to those who must do the climbing that you are in charge
and the hill is not that high. Consider the following as you lead the
a. Leave All Your Blues At Home
Your burdens and frustrations must be kept to yourself. As you prepare to go
to Lodge, sit alone for a few minutes, dispel all your problems, and then
concentrate on all the positive issues within your Lodge. Think about how
you are going to greet your brethren and about the good things you have to
say. The important thing is for you to prepare yourself emotionally before
you enter any meeting of your Lodge.
b. Put On A Happy Face
While you are driving to Lodge, keep that positive attitude flowing. Park
your car, grab your briefcase, brace yourself from within, put on your happy
face and, with a little spring in your step, greet your brethren with joy
and brotherly love. You may be unhappy within, but that negative disease
will not infect others.
c. A Personal Greeting For Everyone
Every single person who enters the front door of your Lodge should feel that
his presence and participation is vital to the success of the Lodge. Every
officer and every member must greet each other with joy and enthusiasm for
their participation that evening. A Brother who is not greeted and brought
into the circle is a Brother who feels neglected and unwanted, the worst
As Master, let others do the routine preparation for your meeting and stand
by that front door and personally greet everyone who enters. If a new member
or a visiting Brother arrives, have someone standing by to personally
introduce him to all in attendance. This is their home away.
d. The Clique Includes Everyone
Everyone should feel welcome to participate and be an actual part of every
Lodge event. The human need to be a part of a social group dictates that,
within a Masonic Lodge, every member and every visitor should feel that he
and his family are a vital part of the in~~ group. There must never be
anyone who feels that he is an outsider within your Lodge. Extend genuine
invitations to everyone, not only by your words, but by your actions.
No matter what the event is, either within the Lodge or perhaps a gathering
following a meeting, invite all to attendance. Most probably wont attend
but they will not feel excluded. Those who do attend will feel closer to the
Lodge and its members. They will be driven to greater participation.
Remember your emotions when you felt excluded from a group important to you.
Those excluded will go elsewhere. Those included will return.
Your personal appearance and that of your officers communicates the manner
in which you lead the Lodge. Take a long look at yourself and your officers.
Are you, by your very appearance and manner of dress, silently communicating
the message to the brethren of the leadership style reflective of your Lodge
and the Masonic fraternity. The body language of dress and appearance has
forever been important to all successful organizations. The age old saying,
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it
surely must be a duck, is absolutely true. If you want to be a leader, you
must look, act and talk like a leader. The brethren will accept nothing
less. The historical traditions of Freemasonry dictate that our meetings and
ritual be performed in a formal dignified manner. Do you and your Lodge
uphold this standard of excellence or does your manner of dress reflect the
standards of less formal clubs or organizations? The sideliners will
appreciate that look and feel of a distinguished corps of officers and
respond accordingly. A casual and unkempt appearance will result in casual
and sloppy leadership and ritual. Remember the message you wish to
communicate to the membership: leadership and competence.
Communication by the absence of the spoken word is, at times, the most
effective communication skill that a Master can utilize to achieve his
goals. Positive communication only occurs when two or more parties are able
to fully and honestly exchange their views on a particular issue. How many
times in your own private or employment situation have you experienced a
person who likes to bark orders, but refuses to listen? Be open, patient
and understanding with your brethren.
Be open by continually talking with, not to, the membership. Everyone should
feel that you are open minded and will listen to their particular ideas or
complaints. Be patient by taking the time to hear them out. If an issue can
be readily resolved, do it. If not, explain the reasons why you cannot. The
bottom line is that you took the time, listened and communicated back your
decision. Everyone should leave a discussion feeling good about the exchange
and understanding of each others positions.
If a Brothers view is opposite from your goals and objectives, attempt to
brief him fully on the direction which you and your officers have
established and ask for his support. Every Lodge has its nay-sayers. Your
challenge is to stay on track with your goals and attempt, through continual
persuasion, to bring those opposed into the fold. You may never accomplish
this task. A few may fall by the wayside, but the others, who are sitting on
the fence, will be impressed by your approach and will offer their support.