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I'M ONE TO TALK

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

Busted Brackets Galore

It will go down as one of the wildest weekends in Men's NCAA Tournament history. 

For the second time ever a No. 16 seed upset a No. 1 seed (which busted plenty of brackets) but that's not all. There were upsets throughout the bracket and by Friday night, two days into the tournament, zero perfect brackets remained out of more than 20 million submitted in major online games. Zero.

That means there's a lot of folks talking about upsets, Cinderella's, busted brackets and NCAA Tournament games. Which gives you a lot of chances to connect because Misery Loves Company. 

Sports conversations don't have to focus on game outcomes. In fact, in a business setting I think of sports as a way to find common ground in building relationships. I don't care about the scores nearly as much as I care about making a connection. 

If you're new to sports talk it can feel overwhelming to jump into conversations with sports fans. The Talk Sporty 101 series offers strategies to...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Mar 12, 2023

March Madness gives you an advantage in small talk and relationship building for the next three weeks.

Spring Training can be a reminder about getting the right folks on your team and in your corner.


Sports is more than stats and scores… if you allow it to be. With that in mind here are sports topics worth using in small talk this week

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Using March Madness to Your Advantage

Uncategorized Mar 08, 2023

You know it takes more than one conversation to build a business relationship. 

You also know it can be tricky to find the right balance or cadence in sending emails or striking up conversations with someone who's new to your network or contact list. 

What you might not have consider is the tremendous networking opportunity March Madness and the NCAA Tournament presents. It's not about basketball. It comes down to the frequency of the conversations. It's expected basketball fans are going to talk about the tournament. It lasts three weeks, there's always drama and anyone who fills out an NCAA Tournament bracket is invested in the outcomes, at least to a small degree. 

If you're a basketball fan, that's awesome. If you're only a basketball fan during the NCAA Tournament, that's great. If you don't care about basketball at all, I'd suggest you take a passing interest and think outside the box scores. 

Talking to a new business contact every couple days for three...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Mar 05, 2023

Each week I encourage you to utilize opportunities in small talk. This week I’m encouraged by a conversation that took place 10 years ago…

Friday I spoke a conference and the name of one our afternoon speakers looked very familiar. I couldn’t place it until she gave me a hug and said thank you for taking the time to talk to her several years earlier at the same conference. That interaction and the couple follow up emails and conversations led to finding her perfect job in sports. 

Talking to aspiring broadcasters is something I do frequently, but I don’t always hear the follow up success stories and get the reminder that conversations matter – even the ones you might have forgotten about or are no longer top of mind. I don’t remember the specifics of that conversation 10 years ago but I am positive it started with small talk at the conference. Small talk set the tone for our interactions and laid the foundation for bigger conversations that...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Feb 26, 2023

Change management in real time.

That’s what we’re seeing across Major League Baseball as a result of new rule changes that include a pitch clock. That means that for the first time ever the game will be timed at the big league level.

There are a couple of things I want point out:

  1. Regardless as to if you’re a baseball fan, change is something we are all forced to deal with from time to time.
  2. This is a perfect example of a parallel between sports and business. You don’t have to talk about baseball. You can use baseball to springboard into bigger topics about adapting and reacting to change.

The baseball rule changes are a popular topic at the moment, but if you’d like additional headlines for small talk this week check out the full list below.

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Planks, Pitch Clocks and Focus

business communication Feb 26, 2023

I was finishing my workout. I just wanted to make it through my final plank - UGH! I watched the seconds tick by with one thought, "just finish."

After collapsing into a child's pose I realized I spent more than a minute thinking about just one thing - that stupid plank. In fact, that might have been the only time that day my mind wasn't skipping around, trying to manage multiple things at once. The timer at the end of my workout forced me to focus. It's the same thing that's happening in Major League Baseball this year. 

For the first time ever there is a pitch clock for big league games. It's creating a lot of conversation and that gives us a chance to think outside the box scores. 

I've talked to a number of big league hitters who have all said the new timing rules forces them to focus on one objective at the plate. They don't have time to think about the previous pitch. There's no time for extra thoughts or "What ifs." Being on the clock hones their focus. 

It's...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Feb 19, 2023

I’m generally baffled and surprised by the topics that get characterized as “conversation starters.” I think what most blogs, news organizations, feeds, etc. mean to say is, “Here’s something interesting to talk about among friends.”

Big topics that include hot-button issues and require a deep-dive aren’t good conversation starters in a business setting. When you weed through the remaining options after removing: money, religion, politics and sex you’re left with the weather – boring! And sports – Bingo!

Now might be a good time to mention that 113 million people watched the Super Bowl between the Chiefs and the Eagles last week making it the third most-watched television show all-time. (In case you’re wondering, the top two broadcasts are also Super Bowls.)

Sports works in small talk and as a productive conversation starter. Use these topics to get the ball rolling this week.

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I Promise You're not Binge-Watching This...

business communication Feb 15, 2023

Here’s more proof that sports stands alone as a conversation starter. The NFL season is over and no one – not a single fan – has waited to binge the season from Week 1 through the Super Bowl.

We don’t watch sports that way. This isn’t Ted Lasso it’s real life. We don’t wait for a season to end before we find out what happened to our favorite team. It’s ridiculous to even suggest that. It’s equally as ridiculous not to use sports to your advantage.

I used to say sports is the only DVR-proof programming on TV. Now it’s more accurate to say it’s the only appointment-viewing programming available.

Sports fans watch sporting events in real time, or at the very least know the outcome within 24 hours. 

That means there’s always something new to talk about. There’s never a shortage of storylines, outcomes, great performances, or questionable calls to discuss. You don’t have to search for conversation...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Feb 12, 2023

It doesn’t get much better than this, at least in terms of conversation starters. The Super Bowl had a little something for everyone, whether it was the game itself, the half time show or the food you indulged in.

Chances are there’s at least one element of the Super Bowl you are interested in talking about, and guess what? There are millions of people who are not only willing to talk about the game, but really want to talk about the game. Every year the Super Bowl is one of the highest rated programs on live TV. Use that to your advantage in small talk this week and while you’re at it, use the rest of these sports topics too.

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Business Communication Skill - Asking Yes/No Questions

business communication Feb 11, 2023

Most sports fans watching a game focus on the game action. Makes sense right? Here's what else I tend to notice, the type of communication that takes place during a game. 

It's often very direct and concise because there's not a lot of time to discuss options during the middle of a game. That brings us to a communication skill that will make you a more effective communicator at work - asking Yes/No questions. 

I know somewhere along the way you've been told not to do that. I also know it's potentially bad advice. There's tremendous value in giving someone an easy answer and limiting their options. You see it all the time in football. 

I'm not suggesting that every question be in this form, but if you really want a response to an email including "Let me know if you have any questions"  isn't as direct as saying "Does this timeline work for you?" 

One approach gets you closer to your end result than the other. It might take an extra minute to think through...

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