World Cup fever has well and truly set in at my house. The sticker book is almost complete, the wall chart is up and the relevant match times have been written on the calendar. There is much excitement and anticipation as we await kick-off of the first game.
As usual, my thoughts are turning to the communication lessons we can learn from the world around us. The winning and losing teams in Brazil are yet to be revealed – although there’s no shortage of opinions and predictions – but you can guarantee that as well as skill and luck, good communication will play a key part in who lifts the trophy and who takes an early flight home. There are many ways in which the communication skills of the managers, players and even the fans will be important. And here’s my top tips to learn from:
- Story-telling. The World Cup is all about stories. The plucky under-dogs who come from behind to beat the group leaders. The star striker who can’t buy a goal, then finally finds the back of the net with the last kick of the game. The way teams earn their place in the semi-finals, with each win or draw like a chapter in their story. And these stories are the reason so many people around the world follow the tournament and get caught up in the emotion, the ups and downs. In the same way, organisations need to create stories with emotion that really engage their audience.
- Teamwork. It seems obvious, but the key to a team being at the top of their game and running rings round the opposition is communicating well with each other. They need to know what part they play and what their team-mates are going to do. They need to work together to achieve their goal (literally or figuratively) and understand the bigger picture. And it’s exactly the same for teams within an organisation – they need to understand what they’re part of and communicate well with each other.
- Leadership. It’s not just the members of the team who need to communicate well; their manager must get it right too if they’re to be successful. From his expectations of each individual player to his plan for each game and his half-time talk, the players will listen to what he says, be motivated (or not) and understand (or not) what they have to do. The relationship between him and his players is an important guide for him on what to say, when and how. Managers in organisations need to get to know their people too, so that they can judge what will motivate and bring them together as a successful team.
- Shared interest and connections. Fans of the World Cup have many ways to share their views with others and conduct the all-important pre- and post-match analyses (and social media now makes in-match analysis easy too). There are online forums, radio phone-ins and chats in the pub, to name a few. Having that shared interest and common language makes it easy to build a community. So if you’re a communicator in an organisation, find, or create, common interests and connections and then give people ways to discuss them. It’s a brilliant way to build collaboration in all areas, not just the original common topic.
So that’s my take on it – what’s yours? Whether you’re counting down to the first whistle or dreading the office sweep-stake, there’s something for all of us in the World Cup. And if you’d like help in working out how these lessons can be applied in your organisation, please get in touch for a chat to see how we could work together.
Until next time