Lesson Planning & Games are Keys to Effective Communication

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 360, ƒ/5.6, 1/4000

Communications professionals need to know more than the 5 Ws.

  1. Who
  2. What
  3. Where
  4. When
  5. How
I believe understanding games and educational lesson plans can make you a better communicator. 

If you do not understand and know the rules of the game you will most likely not be any good, but most likely will lose the game.

A game is only as good as its rules, and how well we play the game is defined by how well we follow the rules. What is so fascinating about many of the games we play today is that there are often no instruction books included—yet we somehow know how to play them anyway. We learn from family, friends, teachers, and coaches.

We also know that it doesn’t matter if you follow the rules that the game came with or if you make up your own rules; it really just matters that everyone agrees on what the rules are.

Fuji X-E2, FUJINON XF 55-200mm, ISO 200, ƒ/7.1, 1/750

The core to a good game is understanding the objective of the game, the subject matter, materials, the procedures and score.

Creating a game is really no different than that of creating a educational lesson plan.

Five Parts of a Lesson Plan

1. Objectives
2. Subject Matter
3. Materials
4. Procedure
5. Assignment

Objective – A statement of purpose for the whole lesson. It tells us what the students will be able to do by the end of the lesson. It will determine the activities the students will engage in.

Subject Matter – This will be the sources of material to be studied.

Topic for a lesson

Materials – Necessary teaching aids to be used for instruction

Procedure – This is the body of your lesson plan where you outline the steps to be taken by the teacher & student.

Assignment – where you insure good recitation, which tells us

What needs to be done
How it is to be done
Why it is to be done

Humanitarian Work

As a professional communicator for humanitarian work I am helping organizations tell their stories so that the audience will get involved. These organizations need financial support, but also volunteers to help make the work happen.

Looking at a project as a teacher would for writing a lesson plan you start with the objective. Many communicators may figure out that this is the why in the 5 Ws, but it is much more because with humanitarian work you have a call to action with the audience. When telling a journalistic story you are not telling the audience to take an action you are just informing most of the time.

Having an objective also helps you focus your questions while gathering the story that will help you meet that objective. Too many times I have been overseas capturing a story that when we go to the final step of how the audience could get involved through the call to action the organization finally realized they helped to tell a story for a local person and didn’t have a great way for the audience to get involved that helped to fund the organization. They were chasing human interest stories without an objective in mind.

When doing a story you will go down many rabbit holes. If you know your objective it is much easier to redirect the subjects back on track. You know that when they started they were answering a question that then they took in another direction. You redirect them by clarifying and helping you find the supporting information which is helping you achieve your objective.

What many storytellers are lacking when it comes to using their skills for humanitarian work and for business is a purpose to their story. That purpose is a call to action. Did your story engage the audience? You must be able to measure this.

Just like at the end of the game you will know the score, great communicators with organizations know if their communication engaged the audience to action. They have the last step of the lesson plan written into their communications plan–the assignment. That is the action plan the audience will take after hearing their story.