Almar's Monthly – Remember the beach ball



Hello Folks,

I’m not talking about holidays this month, although I know a lot of you are planning or already have enjoyed vacations. Many of you have been skiing in the last few weeks and some of you are off to far flung places in the next few months. I too love to travel, and when I do, one thing that strikes me each time when meeting new people is how we communicate with each other. A lot of the time it’s by speaking in English as that is often the common language for different nationalities to communicate to each other.

So, back to the beach ball……I recently read an article reminding me of an analogy used by business guru Paul McGee who developed the SUMO approach which stands for Shut Up, Move On. One of his 6 principles is “remember the beach ball”.

When two people speak, imagine a beach ball floating between them. The ball has six coloured segments; but each person can only see three segments on their side. So, Mr A thinks the ball is green, white and blue; Ms B thinks it’s red, yellow and orange. They’re both right. But they’re both different.”

What he is trying to explain by this is that when you communicate with someone, you see your words one way and they can be seen by the other person(s) in a completely different way. That can be when communication breaks down.

An example of this could be when a sales person visits a new customer and tells them “We were established in 1997,” Their intention is to explain about the history of the company and that the company has been running for a long while, however the customer could think “Why are you telling me how old you are?”

You get the idea. Check out the 90 second video explanation below and “remember the beach ball” next time you send an email, give a presentation or speak with someone, especially in a language that may not be their first language.

All the best,