The dictionary defines communications as the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs. It is an activity by one organism that changes, or has the potential to change, the behavior of other organisms.
Both definitions are key to your success as a League Marshal. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are with game mechanics, or how many players are in your League and how good they are in offense and defense – if you can’t communicate your instructions clearly, and listen to what your players tell you, your battle for ranking is probably lost before it even started.
As a Marshal, you will need to be able to ask for information from your officers and players so you can make good decisions and plans, discuss any problems, find solutions, and issue understandable instructions. There are some things to keep in mind though - your players may live in many different time zones, may not have the skills yet to understand or do what you are asking them to do, and may have problems with English. You will have to find out what the issues are and come up with ways to work around them.
Explain in clear terms what you want your players to do; your language needs to be simple, especially if you have non-English speakers in the League, so keep in mind that short words are easier to translate.
When you issue instructions, it is also good to include how they will benefit your players – the “what’s in it for me” effect. People respond better when they know you care what happens to them and are trying to help them do better. Positive words are better than negative words. Remember - a little recognition can go a long way!
When you’re writing to the League as a whole, or to allies and even enemies, always be courteous. By that I mean treating them with respect and concern for their points of view. Respect leads to friendly relations between people, and even an enemy will respond better when approached respectfully. This is a game, and it’s supposed to be a fun competition, not a street brawl. Remember that you are representing your League; you are the “face” that other Leagues will see, and reputation means a lot in Stormfall.
Leading a League can be difficult when tempers are high and the League has problems. You won’t have the nonverbal cues we normally have when speaking with people face to face. You may “hear” what they are telling you, but not putting yourself in their shoes can cause problems.
You may want to jump in and start offering solutions before you fully understand the real concerns of the speaker, and that can make the problem even worse. We type one thing, the other person reads something else, and misunderstandings are bound to happen. It’s common for players to get frustrated and discouraged when things aren’t going right, so understanding their point of view and simply acknowledging their concerns can help calm things down. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t understand it.
Listening includes being open-minded to the ideas and opinions of others. This does not mean you have to agree, but you should listen and attempt to understand. We all have opinions and values that we believe in, and it can be difficult to listen to the views of others when they contradict ours.
The whole idea is that your League should be a team, and that means people with many different points of view will need to work together and use their individual skills for the good of the League. Just because somebody doesn’t think the same way you do, it doesn’t mean they are wrong. Accept that not everyone will agree with you, and agree to disagree for the good of the League.
It is important for a Marshal to manage their League well, but you also need to be able to convey your thoughts on how the League can be improved, and then persuade the other members to accomplish these goals. Presenting your ideas the right way by writing clearly, listening to feedback, and then convincing others to follow your plans can mean the difference between a smoothly working team and a broken League that will soon self-destruct.
This article was written by player Lady Nerium, who granted permission for it to be posted on Plarium.com. Any thoughts or views expressed herein are the player's own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Plarium Global.