Skip to Content

Telephone Game (Chinese Whispers): 15 Tips / Tricks (How To Win?…)

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

Colleague Whispering

What if you could be better at playing the Telephone Game? You know, the game we all played as kids where you pass a message along a line of people (whispered, of course), and the last person in the line gets to blurt out the message, which is usually garbled? Well, what if you could be better at playing this game and could help others to be better at it and enjoy it more too?

While there’s no tricky way to win at the Telephone Game, there are things you can do that will increase your chances of getting the correct message to the end of the line. While it’s great to achieve the objective, also remember to have fun. Enjoying yourself is all part of the process. 

Winning is important to a lot of people who play games. To win at Chinese Whispers, you need to ensure that the correct message is delivered to the last person in the line. Below are several tips and tricks that increase your chances of getting that right. 

15 tips and tricks to win at Chinese Whispers: 

1. Keep it light with funny words and phrases.

Try to keep the game fun and use phrases and words that are amusing. Chances are that the players will pick up on a funny word or phrase a lot easier than something that is complex or boring. 

2. Try not to ruin it for others every single time.

If you are the type that likes to twist the message along the way to add to the hilarity at the end of the round, try to keep this to a minimum. If people get used to you doing this, they may start doing it to you, or you might find that people just stop trusting you to tell the truth. 

3. Listen carefully when receiving a whispered message.

Block everything else out of your mind when listening to the message whispered to you. Take the time to truly listen. The harder you listen, the more chance you have of actually hearing the message. If you are looking around at other players, your mind will be on other things, and you might miss what is said. Remember, the message can only be said once. 

4. Put in extra effort to slowly and carefully pronounce the words to the next player.

When passing the message along, really put a lot of effort into doing it correctly. Remember to pronounce each word carefully and slowly repeat the message. Don’t rush through it, and just assume that the next player will know what you have said.

A lot of communication in humans is reading body language and lip-reading. In the Telephone Game, people cannot read your body language or your lips, so essentially, understanding you will be harder. 

5. Keep your cool.

Are you the nervous type? Do you suffer from anxiety? Try not to let it get the best of you! If you happen to get stressed and panicked as the word or phrase gets closer to you, your nerves could cause you to miss the word or phrase as it is said. Keep calm and remain cool and collected. 

6. Wait your turn – everyone deserves patience. 

Don’t get impatient and try to push ahead someone else because they are taking too long. The game is designed for everyone to participate. Keep calm, wait your turn and be a good sport. This will ensure that you are included in more games and have a greater chance of winning.

Wait your turn sign

7. Make things fun by playing variations of the game. 

Don’t just stick to the same old traditional version of the Telephone Game. People will start to lose interest in playing. Shake things up by playing different variations of the game. The more variations you play, the more experienced you will become and the better you will be at winning. 

8. Set rules and punishments for the wrong word/phrase relayed. 

If there’s no point in winning the game, players won’t really take it seriously because it “doesn’t matter” if they win or lose. Change things up a little to adjust how players work towards the outcome of the game. 

Make the game mean something to the other players by setting a rule or punishment for the end of each failed round. If there’s a punishment expected, players will try harder and thus improve the chances of winning. 

9. Use unfamiliar phrases and words so that the game isn’t too easy.

Don’t use simple and recognizable phrases every time you play. By incorporating unfamiliar phrases, you can teach your brain and ears to listen for unfamiliar sounds and get better at hearing them. 

10. Focus your attention on the game.

Focusing your attention is a key element of any project’s success…even the games you play. If you easily get distracted, your mind might be somewhere else completely when the message is whispered to you. This could result in missing the message. When playing the game, focus on it. Give it your undivided attention, and you’ll have more chances of winning.

11. Make sure the first player writes down the word/phrase to avoid disputes.

Sometimes people dispute what the original message was at the start of the game. To avoid wasting time with silly disputes, make sure that the message is first written down before the game officially begins. 

12. Ensure that everyone knows the rules before you start playing. 

Don’t just assume that everyone knows how to play Chinese Whispers. Some people think they know all the rules, but they don’t. 

To avoid interruptions and possible cheating, make sure that the rules are made clear before the game begins. For instance, make sure that your entire team knows that the message can only be whispered to the next player once. 

If everyone knows the rules, the game can go ahead without delays. A little refresher course on how to play won’t hurt. 

13. Practice your listening skills.

The Telephone Game is largely based on your ability to listen and receive a message using just one of your senses; hearing. You cannot use your ability to read body language or lip read. This means that the more you practice just listening with your ears and not using your other sense, the better you will get at it. Practice doing this between games. 

Close your eyes and listen to what people are saying. Listen to music without watching the music video. Expose yourself to more experiences where you can merely listen and not actually observe or watch something. 

man listening to music

14. Practice pronouncing words correctly and clearly in everyday life.

How do you speak in everyday life? Do you mumble through sentences or possibly talk too fast? Maybe it’s time to get your general communication style under control. 

When talking to other people, practice speaking clearly and with the correct pronunciation of each word. If you get into a habit of communicating clearly and precisely, it will become second nature and become an easy task in the Telephone Game

15. Go easy on people who struggle playing the game.

The only way to win the game is to actually be invited to play with other people. If you go hard on people who get the message wrong, people will stop wanting to play the game with you in the first place. 

Go on easy on those who struggle, and teach them the same tips and tricks to help them get better at the game.

Last Word

If you want to improve your skills at playing the Telephone Game, these 15 tips and tricks should really make a difference. Also, remember that it is a game, so try to have fun with it too. Good luck and enjoy!

JC Franco

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.