Want Better Communication? What We Can Learn from Olympic Athletes

February 26, 2010 · Posted in Communications

If you’ve been watching the Winter Olympics in Vancouver like me, you may have been impressed at the level of performance and the triumphs of these top athletes. And no matter what nation, every single Olympic athlete seems to have that same dedication and that mental strength that makes them reach for the gold medal .  I believe that we can learn from the Olympians and apply these strengths to become a better communicator. No matter what language you speak, what country you’re from and what communications goal you want to achieve - the following Olympic qualities can help all of us to go for gold in our lives.


Not only aim Olympic athletes higher than others (Remember: No dreams are too big!) but they are absolutely determined to achieve their goal. Apply determination to your communications strategy and you will find yourself more focused and more thorough in your approach. If you’re planning on delivering an inspiring speech that will affect people’s way of seeing your brand or services, add a portion of Olympic determination to your speech writing recipe - and you’ll finish boldly. Determination can change your mindset from “just getting things done somehow” to creating powerful content that will surpass your own and other people’s expectations.


Olympic athletes might get injured during training, or they might experience personal hardship like Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette whose mother died unexpectedly a few days before she competed in Vancouver - no matter what kind of hurdles these athletes have to face, they gather the strength to overcome them. Their “never give up” - attitude can help you cope with any communications crisis. Before you bury your head in the sand, think twice, learn from your mistakes or your bad luck and let it inspire you to come out even stronger. Joannie Rochette won the bronze medal despite her grief - if she can do it, so can you. All you need is a healthy portion of persistence.

Stand the Pressure

Let’s face it. It’s not easy to compete in any Olympic discipline while the whole world is watching. Athletes like American Alpine ski racers Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn know what it’s like to feel the pressure. The key is to find a way for you to remain calm so that you can focus on your performance and not think about the stress. American short track speedskater Apolo Ohno yawns before he starts a race in order to put himself in a zen-like state. What’s your technique to stand the pressure? If you don’t know yet, go and find out, and I’m sure your communcations performance will profit from it next time you have to stand the pressure.

Preparation, Preparation, Preparation

Olympic athletes talk a lot about how they prepare for a competition. All of them dedicate hours and hours every day and week after week to train for their chance of a lifetime. Preparation is also key to any exceptional communications initiative - if you follow the motto “overprepare, then go with the flow”, no unexpected situation can catch you off guard. Like the Olympic winter athletes who prepare for different weather conditions or a difficult slope, you should prepare for any communications obstacle that might cross your path - and when it comes, take it on powerfully and with confidence.

Never go without Support

Parents, friends, doctors, coaches - no Olympic athlete can do the job alone. Why should you? Olympic atheletes feed off of their support group and achieve peak performances due to the assistance and encouragement their receive. Whatever your communication needs, you don’t have to do it alone. Hire a professional copywriter if you can’t do it yourself, ask for help from a social media guru to tackle your online marketing project, fall back on your friend who happens to be an SEO expert - if you get your support group together , you can be more powerful than ever.

Wishing you your Olympic communications moment!


One Response to “Want Better Communication? What We Can Learn from Olympic Athletes”

  1. [...] It’s November - the time of the year that you want to spend on wrapping up your PR plan for the new year. Big organizations and corporations usually turn to their in-house PR people or experts at external PR agencies for advice and planning. But what if you’re a small company or a freelancer that doesn’t have the funds to hire an expensive agency or a full-time specialist to beef up your communications strategy? [...]

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