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

Talk Sporty 101: Start small

 

There are a lot of things you could talk about when you become a sports fan, and that’s part of the problem - there are too many things to talk about.

Here’s the best way to approach it: start small and start with the headlines.

Instead of watching all the football you can handle on a weekend and hoping to remember one or two things, pick one team to follow. You can narrow your focus even more and choose a favorite player on the team. When you see out information about your favorite player you’ll ended up learning about the team, league, opponents and trends along the way.

I know that still sounds like a lot and here’s where the headlines come in. Sports headlines are your secret weapon to building your sports knowledge base in a way that you can actually remember what you read and jump into sports conversations right way.

Now, when I say headlines, I literally mean just the headlines. I prefer the ones in an actual printed newspaper, but you can glance at...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Sep 20, 2021

Fandom isn’t accidental. There’s always a story behind a favorite team or player. If you don’t want to talk about the outcome of a game with a colleague or friend, try asking about the origin of their fandom.

These sports headlines can help jumpstart small talk this week.

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

In the last 18 months I’ve gotten pretty good at both hearing and saying, “I don’t know.” Sometimes it is the best answer, and sometimes it’s the only answer. 

It’s not always comfortable to admit you don’t have an answer, or that you don’t know any more details. This is one of the ways sports conversations can help, it’s a low stress, low-leverage way to practice not having all the answers.

If you get asked about the score of a game you didn’t watch saying “I don’t know. I didn’t watch the game,” is a great response. (It’s also the correct one because you shouldn’t try to fake your way through a conversation.) Sports small talk is a great way to practice a skill you need in bigger conversations. In the grand scheme of things no one cares if you watched the game but being able to confidently say “I don’t know”  is a skill you need in business conversations. ...

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Talk Sporty 101: There's No Such Thing as Sports Talk For Women

 

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but there’s no such thing as sports talk “for women.” I’m a woman who’s worked in sports broadcasting for 20 years and I don’t know what that means.

The implication is that women need special help talking sports or that you need to talk to women differently that you would talk to other sports fans. That’s just not true. (And if it was, TV and radio broadcasts of games would sound much different.)

Sports fans are sports fans. That’s it. End of story. You don’t talk to fans differently because of their gender. Wait, maybe I should clarify, you shouldn’t talk to fans differently because of their gender.

When people distinguish male versus female fans it’s often a misguided attempt to categorize different types of fans. I think they’re trying to say that not every fan wants to talk about stats and draw the distinction that some fans would prefer to hear more about a...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

This is the silly family update I posted last week. My niece and nephew live in Houston, but there’s never been any doubt (at least in my mind) they would be Seahawks fans. Auntie Jen has made sure of that!

Most of the responses to this lighthearted Tweet were lighthearted in return. There were a few people, however, who saw it as an opening to say ugly things about Texas, people in Texas and other groups of people they didn’t like. 

I know you can use sports to springboard into many different topics – in fact I often encourage it. However, if you’re truly interested in small talk that builds relationships, there’s a benefit to “sticking to sports” and avoiding small talk that verbally attacks groups of people. 

You can choose how you want to talk to people about sports and you can choose to be kind. Keep that in mind when you use these conversation starters this week.

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Talk Sporty 101: What type of fan are you?

 

Sports fandom looks different to different people. Some fans memorize stats and are glued to the TV during games. Others take a more casual approach, enjoying the social aspect of watching games with others and taking in game day traditions and rituals. 

There’s no one way to be a sports fan. Don’t listen to the die-hards who claim they’re the only “real” fans in the building. On the flip side, give yourself credit for being a fan. You don’t need to make excuses for not watching more sports and you don’t need to apologize for only following the local team.

Here’s the one thing you should consider – changing your conversation tactics based on the type of fan you are and the type of fan you’re talking to.

Here’s a breakdown of how we at Talk Sporty to Me categorize sports fans.

 

Being aware of sports fan profiles can help you stay in your lane in a conversation. I realize that phrase can have a negative...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

Do it because you can, not because you want to.

I heard a fitness instructor say that this week and it’s exactly how I feel when I’m coaching people on how to talk sports and engage in small talk. 

The conversation you think doesn’t matter actually opens the door for bigger conversations of greater substance. I can’t think of any athlete I’ve interviewed (and I’ve talked to hundreds of them) that I haven’t made small talk with at some point before starting the interview – even if it was just 15 seconds of introducing myself before going on live TV. 

You might not want to take time out of your day for small talk, but do it because you can and because it makes a difference in the long run.

Use this list of sports topics to start small talk conversations this week. If this list seems like a lot, then focus on the only question you need to be able to answer: “Who’s your team?”

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Talk Sporty 101: Who's your team?

 

It’s a frequently asked question among sports fans and it’s a good starting point for every new or novice sports fan. There is no right or wrong answer to the question, but you do need an answer if only for your own sanity as you build your sports knowledge base.

Identifying one team - your team - makes it easier to become a fan and follow relevant headlines. For example, keeping track of all 32 NFL teams is time consuming and confusing if you’re just getting started as compared to paying attention to just one team. 

Your choice of teams is entirely up to you, but you might want to consider your objective before you commit.

  • Are you becoming a fan because you need a way to connect with co-workers as you go back to an office?
  • Is everyone in your family, except you, talking about fantasy football at the dinner table?
  • Do you make sales calls to clients who regularly attend games?
  • Do you think it would be good for your personal/dating life?

Your team your choice,...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

If you want people to clearly communicate with you, start practicing it yourself. Sound intimidating? Not if you start with sports.

Here’s an example of being direct: Did you watch the Seahawks pre-season game Saturday?

It’s clear and direct. You know exactly what you’re being asked and what your response will be.

Direct and clear does not mean rude. It might mean you need to practice in low stress situations like small talk. This list of sports conversation starters can help with those interactions.

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Talk Sporty 101: No shame in the game

 

You can be a sports fan for lots of different reasons. It doesn’t have to be because you played sports in high school or because you’ve always been a fan or because your entire family cheers for the Chicago Bears.

You could be a sports fan because it’s a way to connect with will colleagues, it’s a topic your kids will talk about, because you love tailgating or because you think the athletes look good in their uniforms.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Your fandom your reasons.

There are three things to remember: 

  1. When you encounter a sports bully who tries to make you feel bad for not being as much of a fan as they are, stick to your guns. You don’t owe them an explanation or an excuse as to why you’re a fan or how long you’ve been a fan. There’s no right or wrong way to be a fan. (Although I’d argue being a bully defeats the purpose of using sports to create community.)
  2. Get comfortable with what you are most...
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