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Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.

Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters May 26, 2024

Circling back around. Checking in. Just following up.

Oft-used phrases when sending a follow up email. They’re accurate, but also boring. Few people I know get excited to read an email about circling back around.

To be clear, follow up emails need to take place. It’s part of the relationship building process, but there are usually ways to make it more interesting and engaging – like using sports.

“Checking in” might not grab my attention, “Checking in after a big win by the Rangers last night” does.

Sports provides easy and obvious follow up opportunities that are far more interesting than the usual business fallbacks. Give it a try this week using one of these sports topics.

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters May 19, 2024

“If you’re excited, they’ll be excited”

Those were the last minute instructions I overheard being given to the swarm of volunteers working a fundraising event Saturday night. The volunteers were tasked with selling raffle tickets and there was some trepidation over striking up conversations with strangers. The volunteer coordinator assured them it would be easier and the conversation would be smoother if they showed enthusiasm because, “if you’re excited, they’ll be excited.”

That’s a reminder that works for small talk - and really any conversation – too. If we’re listless and half-hearted in our efforts to strike up a conversation we shouldn’t be surprised when we’re met with that same energy. Instead, make it a point to be enthusiastic and watch how that interaction changes.

If you need some inspiration or a few sports topics to get the rolling, these will work this week.

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Sometimes Waiting is Work

business communication May 19, 2024

I could teach a Masterclass in waiting. Not being patient, just waiting.

It’s a large part of my job, and that can be frustrating for someone who likes to be on-the-go, not to mention efficient in attacking a to-do list.

After more than two decades in sports broadcasting and countless hours spent waiting for people to be ready to talk to me, I’ve accepted it’s part of my job. I’ve also come to these two realizations.

Waiting is work. You are doing something. In “real life” we thinking waiting is a waste of time, but for me it’s a large part of success. It’s far better for me to wait until a player is ready to talk to me than to force my agenda and timeline on them. That never leads to the type of interaction I’m looking for and doesn’t do much to further the relationship.

Smiling counts. I won’t try to tell you to be patient while waiting. I’m usually not. I’ve actually found it’s not about being...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters May 12, 2024

Synonyms for “talk” include: confab, divulge, articulate, confer and confide.

Don’t ask me why I started going down this rabbit hole, but here’s what it got me thinking – those words are so much more interesting and descriptive than “talk.” It’s amazing how swapping one word for another can change the entire feel of the interaction.

So, what if we did that for the phrase small talk?

What if, instead of thinking it as chit chat, we think about it as a connection point?

What if we characterize it as a deliberate interaction?

I suspect that when we do that, we also become more intentional about the message we’re sending and the relationships we’re building. These sports topics can help with all of that this week.

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters May 05, 2024

I don't know about you, but my weekend included a parade. One that I was in! (Thank you to the Apple Blossom festival for asking me to be part of their big weekend of festivities.)

I was prepared for the smiling and waving - elbow, elbow, wrist, wrist. But I was little surprised by the amount of conversation that takes place on the parade route. The was a lot of small talk with folks as the car slowly made it's way down the two-mile parade route. Most of the small talk was about the Mariners or the fact that it was raining during the parade. Easy enough conversation starters since most people know me from Mariners TV broadcasts and the rain was a huge talking point for everyone. 

Sometimes small talk isn't that easy or obvious, which is when these sports topics could come in handy. 

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Apr 28, 2024

I see sports connections and conversations everywhere – including the kitchen.

This week I’m launching a new season of I Cook, You Measure. If you haven’t heard about the show or watched an episode here’s what you should know – it’s part cooking instruction, part entertainment and all about connecting over food and wine. I cook with athletes and we talk sports, but mostly we’re just human beings eating and laughing together. It’s a show that could be a conversation starter for you, your family and your friends. You can find every episode of the show online and look for a new one dropping Thursday. Make sure to like and subscribe.

Here are a few other sports topics you can use this week.

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I Cook, You Measure Season 4 Starts Thursday

i cook you measure Apr 28, 2024

We're back with more episodes of I Cook, You Measure presented by Safeway starting this week!

If you're new to the show here's what you can expect - a lot of laughs and stories with a side of sports talk thrown in while mixing it up in the kitchen. 

Season 4 was shot on location during Spring Training in Arizona which means there's a definite baseball vibe to these six episodes. 

You'll find new episodes (and every episode of the show) on YouTube. Make sure to subscribe so you don't miss the show or the Bonus Bites for each episode. 

Want the ingredients list, wine pairings or fun facts about each episode? This is where you'll find 'em

Finally, if you decide to cook along with us and make any of the recipes featured in the show, send me a picture and share your results!

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Apr 21, 2024

You know that realization that you should have followed up and meant to send a note weeks, maybe even months, ago? We’ve all been there and then been in a position of trying to figure out what to say to get back on the radar without things being too awkward.

Here are my suggestions:

  1. State the obvious. There’s no need to lie or to make up an excuse. Be honest in saying that it’s taken longer than you intended to follow up.
  2. Use sports. Hockey and basketball playoffs are underway. That means we’re nearing the end of those seasons giving you a timeline to reference and create natural follow up opportunities. It might sound something like this: 

"It hit me while watching the NHL playoffs that we haven’t connected since the Winter Classic back in January. It’s taken me far longer than I intended to reach out. I’d love to get coffee on the books before we get to the Finals.”

Here are a few other sports topics you can use to spark a...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Apr 14, 2024

I don't spend a lot of time watching golf, but I do spend a fair amount of time reading golf headlines and stories.

In fact, it's how I've determined I'm currently a fan of Scottie Scheffler (which isn't too hard since he's the top-ranked golfer in the world.) You know what else? Reading headlines has given me enough information to engage in plenty of conversations with my golf-loving friends and colleagues. 

The moral of the story is - all you need are a few headlines like the ones listed in this week's list of sports conversation starters. 

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Supporting Superstars and thinking outside the box scores

Caitlin Clark is the most prolific scorer in college basketball history. The records she set at Iowa led to storylines sports fans around the country followed. 

The increased popularity and viewership of women's basketball can be directly traced to Clark. 

Her career and accomplishments have spark countless sports conversations, but here's what I keep thinking about - if it was my job to coach Caitlin Clark, what skills would I need to support a superstar talent? 


Thinking outside the box scores leads us to a different type of conversation altogether, one that could benefit every leader because it's ultimately about the high performers on your team. 

There's no question Clark is highly motivated on her own, but she can't win by herself. No one can. Her individual efforts get a lot of attention, but her team is the reason she won. So think about that in terms of the rising star in your organization and the high performers you manage. How do you create an...

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