What Wordle can teach us about communication

February 2, 2022

Are you addicted to Wordle yet? If not, it may just be a matter of time. The popularity of the free online word game has spread nearly as fast as the Omicron variant but with much more satisfying results.

The goal of the game is to try and guess the day’s five-letter word in six tries. Players are so into it, they feel compelled to share their daily results via a cryptic green and yellow grid on their social media platforms.

What makes Wordle so engaging are some of the same things that makes for effective communication.

It’s simple. The game is straightforward and easy to understand. So, too, should be the communication you share with your stakeholders. If you make people work too hard to understand your message, many of them just won’t. Be clear and straightforward for the best results.

It’s consistent. Every day, you can count on there being a new puzzle waiting for you like a little buried treasure. Being consistent in your messaging helps you build trust with your stakeholders because they know they can depend on you to be there, providing information they need.

It’s uncluttered. No flashing ads. No pop-ups blocking your view. No links to get you to sign up for other things. The game is blessedly plain which adds to its popularity. As you are trying to cut through all the noise out there, remember that good communicators don’t need a lot of “fluff.” Concise, relevant information shared as directly as possible is often best received.

It’s rewarding. The feeling of accomplishment upon solving the puzzle brings the simple kind of joy we need to help us muddle through the world we’re living in today. It’s the way you’d like people to feel after receiving a message from you. Leave them feeling good about the information they received and how you relayed it to them.

It’s personal. The creator of Wordle originally made the game for his partner and they enjoyed playing it on their couch at home. It was personal for him. Now that more than 2 million people play it every day, that special feeling remains. When you connect with your audience and find common ground that you share, your message will hit home and resonate.

It remains to be seen how the New York Times purchase of Wordle will affect its loyal and adoring audience. If they’re smart, they would learn the lessons Wordle has taught us about connecting with an audience and not change a thing.


By Jill Johnson:

With more than 30 years of experience in communications, marketing, brand development and client service, Jill understands how to create and deliver messages that are strategic and on-point. In her role as Communications Advisor, she assists clients with the development of internal and external messaging. At the heart of any productive client relationship is the ability to listen. Jill’s background in market research prepared her to ask questions that deliver answers necessary to guide the path forward. She also has in-depth experience in marketing and communication, including work for higher education and non-profit organizations. Jill earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Simpson College in Communications and Public Relations.