District 41 Toastmasters

Elevating Communication Through the Art of Play

Communication is one of life’s greatest challenges, and this truth is universal. Around the world, people struggle due to difficulties in communication, whether it’s a language barrier or the way we interact with one another. Communication is a puzzle we all aim to solve.

If you’ve ever watched kids making playful, endearing faces to get what they want from their parents, you’ll notice they often achieve their desires through this playful approach. They express their needs in a playful manner.

We make various efforts to enhance our communication skills. We read newspapers, watch English movies with subtitles, listen to English music, think in English, communicate with others in English, and even join communities to practice. But, simply reading or writing doesn’t significantly improve communication; it merely strengthens our vocabulary.

No matter what we do, it takes years to develop the level of communication we aspire to achieve. I recall my childhood when I attended Anganwari for basic education. Our teacher had us repeat numbers and letters from the board, thinking we were learning effectively. However, a group of children in our neighborhood, including me, engaged in different activities, and often, teaching was part of our play. Some of the older kids would take on the role of a teacher, acting like the strict Anganwari teacher. We learned the alphabet, vowels, tenses, and multiplication effortlessly through play.

In the 21st century, it’s a mistake to expect students to learn by making them sit for hours. We must engage with them through play and transform it into a teaching and learning session. For instance, when we recite a rhyme to children, it may take years for them to learn it, and they might lose interest. But if we act it out, use different styles and techniques, the children start to imitate, and the learning becomes fun.

The same principle applies to communication as well. Reading a story aloud may not engage your audience. However, when you perform it with voice modulation and expressive acting, your audience will remember it for life, not forgetting a single word. When we prepare a speech and try to deliver it on stage, we tend to forget it multiple times. But when we act, not only do we remember how to perform, but we also catch the audience’s attention immediately.

Acting and playing are potent tools in communication, making your work easier and more convincing. A celebrity like Jackie Chan, despite language barriers, effectively communicates through his playful manner.

Here are some immediate benefits of incorporating play into communication:

Communication becomes clearer, even if words are misplaced, and grammatical errors become less significant.
• Playful communication makes us physically more active, promoting an active lifestyle.
• It enhances creative thinking, aligning our emotions and brains.
• Play helps build stronger bonds, reducing anxiety and discomfort, making us more open.
• Play in communication enhances thinking, reading, memory, reasoning, and attention skills.

Monica Banik
Gurgaon Orator Toastmasters Club