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The Six Nations Rugby Championship and what we can learn about communication

Jamie Brownlee | 09.02.2023

In the cold, dark, and often bleak days of February, rugby fans are thawed and their excitement ignited by a very special tournament.  

Every year, the Six Nations tournament, featuring England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales, kicks off. It is a highly competitive, emotional, and physically demanding series of games that take place over several weeks across Europe.  

While the tournament is primarily about showcasing the athletic prowess of the competing teams, it also provides valuable lessons on strong communication that can be applied in various aspects of our working lives. In this article, I will explore some of the ways that the Six Nations Rugby tournament can teach us about effective communications. 

  • Clarity and precision 

One of the most important aspects of efficient communication is clarity and precision. Rugby players, continually faced oncoming physical threats from abnormally large opponents, must be able to communicate with each other quickly and clearly, whether it’s calling out plays or giving directions on the field. This is especially important during tense moments in the game when every second counts. 

Similarly, in professional and personal settings, it is essential to communicate clearly and precisely, so that everyone involved is on the same page. Using key messages (or your “home”) can help to avoid misunderstandings and confusion and can also help to build trust and credibility. 

  • Collaborative teamwork  

Another important aspect of effective communication is teamwork and collaboration. In the Six Nations, players from different clubs and geographies come together to form a cohesive unit, and their success depends on their ability to work together as a team. 

In the same way, good communication in the workplace requires collaboration and teamwork. By working together and communicating proficiently, teams can achieve their goals more efficiently. Good teamwork and collaboration also help to create a positive work environment, where employees feel valued and motivated. 

  • Adaptability under pressure  

In rugby, the game can change in an instant, and players must be able to adapt quickly to new situations. They must be able to communicate successfully with each other, even in the heat of the moment, in order to maintain control of the game. 

Similarly, in the professional world, it is important to be adaptable and flexible in our communication. We must be able to adjust our communication style to different audiences and situations, whether it be a business meeting, a presentation, or a casual conversation. In the world of PR, we often have to adapt to our clients’ last-minute changes and developments then working with the media to achieve a positive result. By being adaptable, we can more effectively communicate our message and build stronger relationships with those around us. 

  • Assertive confidence 

Confidence and assertiveness are also important aspects of effective communication. Rugby players must be confident in their abilities and assertive in their communication, in order to lead their team to victory. 

In the professional world, confidence and assertiveness can also help us to communicate successfully and build our credibility. By speaking clearly, confidently, and directly, we can convey our message better and establish ourselves as leaders in our field. The media responds well to spokespeople and leaders that are confident with their delivery of message.   

  • Active listening 

Active listening is an important aspect of strong communication in any setting, and this is especially true in rugby. In the pressure cooker of the game, players must be able to listen to each other and respond quickly in order to achieve their goals. 

In the same way, active listening is crucial in the professional world. By actively listening to our colleagues, customers, and clients, we can gain a better understanding of their needs and concerns and respond in a way that meets those needs. This helps to build stronger relationships and improve overall communication channels which ultimately creates a more enjoyable working environment. 

At Greentarget we are always looking to learn from other industries and better understand how communication styles differ. We try to prepare our client’s spokespeople to be personable, specific, credible, empathetic and to raise the thought leadership bar.  From our bespoke communications programme development, challenging mock interviews where we will pose hard hitting questions that put spokespeople on the spot, to writing workshops designed to take a team inside the mind of a journalist, we offer an array of expert support that upskill experts, help them become better advocates and fulfil corporate compliance requirements. Whether they require a singular refresher class in engaging with the media or ongoing executive support, we offer expert training and customised counsel to suit specific business goals.  

Fundamentally, our aim is to arm authentic and resolute spokespeople with the necessary communication tools that are learnt by real life scenario training which allows their personality and the brand they represent to establish a voice that will stand the test of time.   

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