District 41 Toastmasters

Mastering Effective Communication through Playfulness

During our childhood, we all have at one point of time or other either played or heard of the game ‘Chinese Whisper’. In this game a message is whispered from person to person, then the original and final messages are compared. It can be observed that the original message is highly diluted until it comes to the finally communicated message. This game conveys basically two information: 1. how gossip/rumors are spread and how the reality is far away from what is rumored. 2. The inaccuracy of human recollection ability.

If someone was to explain aforementioned two messages only through flat words, it would have been difficult for us (esp. during childhood) to understand. However, after playing the game, we are able to realize how rumors spread and the variation between original and final information. This is the ‘Power of Play in communication’.

Effective communication relies on connecting with the audience and engaging their senses. Plain words often fail to capture attention. Incorporating playful elements into communication can help convey the message effectively to the listener or audience.

Consider a mother holding her child. The warmth of the hug and the tenderness in her eyes convey a mother’s love to her child. As the child grows, communication is primarily through play, such as giggling, making sounds, and making faces and so on. Similarly, using play in communication can work wonders when a leader is communicating with their team. It enhances connectivity among team members and fosters team building.

Communication play refers majorly to playful uses of words and gestures such as acting, telling jokes, short poetry, stories or even playing few communication games. There are many ways of play while communicating. Four of the basics are listed below:

  1. Word play: While we are giving a presentation or speech, it’s always good to start with a question, story, quotes, short poetry, telling jokes. This certainly captures the attention of audience. Having word play in between and at the end also works wonders both for speaker and the audience. For example: when one is to explain about importance of time, we can use the quote ‘time and tide waits for none’. Here, a single phrase explains all. Likewise, the quote also grabs the audience attention.
  2. Body play: This involves using gestures and body language that match the content. For instance, when narrating a sad story, convey sadness through your facial expressions. When sharing happy incident, let your smile communicate the joy. Our gestures often convey more than words.
  3. Visual play: In today’s world, showing videos related to the content can be highly effective, especially for the younger generation. Short video clips can be used at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of any communication to aid in understanding.
  4. Game play: As referred initially, Communication games, like ‘Chinese Whisper,’ can be used to enhance communication. Other popular communication games include 60-second story-telling, trust fall, blindfolded obstacle courses, and more. this literally refers to playing games.

Using play in communication undoubtedly works wonder for disseminating information. Uses of phrases, quotes, dramatic body language, simple gestures, telling stories, jokes, playing games are few play that can be done in communication. People tend to provide more attention, and tend to understand in an easy way when they are communicated through play. Definitely, each of us has our own way of communication. However, the best way to communicate is through the way of play to connect with the audience.

Smriti Shrestha
Butwal toastmasters