Barriers to communication: “Not about winning”

I recently went to a school sports day for 6 to 10 year olds.

The teacher introducing the event delivered the message ‘It’s not about winning, it’s about having fun‘.


Unfortunately it’s a lie.


This message is just not accurate. And it stifles everyone’s communication skills. Every kid would like to win. Every parent at the event would like their child to win. The winner gets more satisfaction and glory. In fact, if it wasn’t about winning, there would be no race!

We deliver messages like this because we want to spare our children the cut throat pressure that may go with competition. A noble goal. But a goal that won’t be achieved if the children don’t believe what we say.

However, we can easily create a true and accurate message that breaks down the barrier and achieves the intended goal; with just a slight tweak.


‘It’s not just about winning, it’s also about having fun’.


Because this message states the truth, the audience is still listening to the important point about having fun. This message introduces the day and sets the right tone.

A true message resonates and creates clear communication. A false message is treated with disdain and encourages duplicity.

It’s the same for clear business communication. You can improve your communication skills by modifying your messages.

We don’t have to be fake, we just need to think clearly about how the message is received.

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