No kidding! It’s happier to tell it like it is.

Posted by on Jan 27, 2012 in views | No Comments

These past few months my entire professional adult world was given a humbling lesson into the art of communication – by a bunch of kids aged 7 – 15.

It was triggered by a wonderful wet Sunday spent entirely with these little beings. Kids that taught me, through their tears and laughter, the importance of utmost sincerity in communication, without conditions and reservations (and yes, minus the typical and infamous “terms and conditions” asterisk that inundates virtually all our messaging. After all, you don’t talk to a kid this way).

I learnt that the older (and smarter) we grow, the more inhibited we get in trying to express ourselves passionately, and the less we feel for things, and the less we express ourselves without reservations.

I started that Sunday morning helping to fulfill the wish of 5 year old Sara, a recipient of Make A Wish Foundation Singapore. We brought her to the zoo (cos she liked animals) and though it was rainy and wet, by the end of her trip she didn’t want to leave. And she cried.

Adults don’t cry, even when we don’t like what we are getting (or not getting). We simply take it in and just move on, though our hearts yearn to do otherwise very badly. Mmm… since when have we stopped saying what we really really desire? Perhaps it’s adulthood and decorum as being an adult. We just don’t show immaturity by crying. (But how I wish I can just discard that).

In the afternoon I rushed over to Tampines Safra, where I was supposed to present some prizes to the winning teams of a football tournament featuring kids from as young as 7 to and “old” 45. (There were several age groups in the football “fiesta” we were organising).

I presented prizes first to the open category (yes, all ages). And then proceeded to present honours to the kids’ categories (under 8 to under 15).

What I noticed was a drastic difference in emotions displayed. The emotional levels seemed to intensify as we wade towards the younger groups.

For the open category I witnessed adults shrugging off defeat as as matter of fact, ie. “it’s just a game.”

For the under 8 category, I witnessed a full spectrum of emotions – from the sorely disappointed (complete with droooped shoulder and tears of disappointment), to intense ecstasy (compete with chest bumps and wide eyes and gaping mouths and glittering eyes that were staring at their prized champions’ trophy).

So i asked myself: where has all the passion gone? Does it mean that was we grow older, the more immune we became to losses and victories? Where has all the childhood intensity gone? Why do we hold back as adults?

I wish everyone of us that have reached the so-called adulthood let ourselves go once in a while. Let our tears flow freely without fear of being seen as an immature kid. And I wish all communications in this world, be it a print ad or brochure, convey the sincerity and simplicity and truth of a kid who has yet to witness how realistic this world of ours is.

As practitioners of messaging and communication, let us be the upholders of the truth with utmost sincerity in what we are helping to advertise or sell. Let us not be swayed by the “bread and butter” of business, and say it as we would like then world to hear it – with purity, sincerity and honesty. Like how a kid would want to hear it.

If that means getting rid of that dreadful asterisk that often mean the terms and conditions that “protect” our clients from being sued by disgruntled customers, then so be it. Let us just cut out the hypocrisy of being an adult and go back to how we grew up.

If we can help communicate messages and promotions that are truthful and real and sincere just as they are, with real honesty, then we will have no need for flowery copy and “impactful, attention-grabbing” headlines.

Let us do ourselves and the world a favour. Let us advise our clients to say it as it is, without any buttering or padding up. If a certain promotion or marketing tactic sounds awfully short and you are asked to “pad” it up and “make it attractive”, just say no, that’s not possible.

Have you ever tried to pull a fast one on a kid and failed miserably? Kids detect everything. Kids can tell what who is telling the truth, and who is pulling the wool over their eyes,

Let us just say it as it is. Because we are communicators, not sensationalists. We have the duty to say it as it is.

Because no matter how beautiful your artwork or flowery your copy is, the kid in us can smell a rat and eventually sniff out the truth.

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