How Communication is like Football

With the Super Bowl 50 coming up this weekend, I thought I would explore how throwing a football (sorry American football to soccer fans outside of North America), is like the communication process. Enjoy.

You may be the smartest salesperson in your industry. You may have a great product, and your product knowledge may be outstanding, but if you can’t communicate this to your customers in an easily digestible manner, you won’t be very successful.

“The thinking human being, not able to express himself, stands at the same level as those who cannot think.” Pericles

Communication is vital!

Denver Broncos vs Carolina+Panthers

One way to think about the process of effectively communicating with someone, is to think about Football.

So how are Football and Communications alike?

  • The quarterback is the sender of the message
  • The football is the message
  • The pass is the medium (or delivery mechanism) of the message
  • The defence, the crowd noise, the cute cheerleaders,  the sun (or stadium lights) in the receiver’s eyes are the barriers that get in the way of the message being delivered
  • The Wide Receiver receives the message.
  • What the Wide Receiver does after catching the ball provides feedback

In football, you can have a quarterback (Peyton Manning / Cam Newton) who can throw the ball 60 yards down the field, but if the receiver doesn’t catch the ball, the team doesn’t advance.

While communicating, if the message is delivered, but not received as intended, communication breaks down and the relationship doesn’t advance.

“The only way he could have said less would have been to talk longer.” Charles Jarvis

Seven key ways to improve your communication with your customers are:

  1. Reduce technical jargon
  2. Unless you are 100% sure they know what the acronyms mean, use the long forms (i.e. C.P.S.A – Canadian Professional Sales Association , N.S.A -National Speakers Association or N.F.L – National Football League)
  3. Get to the point quicker
  4. Tell a (short) story that makes your point
  5. Try to reduce distractions (i.e. noise in a crowded room)
  6. Check for understanding
  7. Use analogies that they are likely to understand (i.e. Communication is like Football)

So next time you are want to communicate think of football because it can help you score with your customers or anyone you want to connect with.

 

 

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