Ok this picture of a bunch of sweaty guys maybe isn’t what you were expecting is it?

BasketballAlbaniaHere’s how the story goes.

My two boys are in this picture.

Not such an unusual picture – they love to play basketball and the post-game pose is not all that surprising.

What makes this picture unique is that these basketball courts are in Albania.

They bring a basketball wherever they travel and over the past few years they have seen courts all over Europe and northern Africa. Sport can be such a unifying language!

So they arrived at the courts in Albania where several guys were playing and they didn’t feel totally welcome. They stood by understanding the language of the courts – that you need to be invited onto the court. And  they get that. So eventually the invitation came and hours of basketball was played. Friendships were made and the games continued on as the Albanians took them out on the town for one of the most memorable experiences they have had.

This story is just so good on so many levels but I couldn’t help to think how it related to some of the work I am doing right now on how to make sure your clients hear you. Effective communication with clients means being clear on your purpose.  Then you need to find them where they live, understand their worldview, and put yourself out there with your heart on your sleeve. That kind of authentic communication will be heard – even if you don’t speak the language.