Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
I’m a firm believer in preparing for little conversations like small talk because a.) I want my interactions to be productive b.) I don’t want them to be awkward, especially if I’m trying to build a relationship.
Preparation can range from doing a little research on people I’ll encounter, identifying success statements I can use in response to “How are you?” and having a few general questions in my back pocket to start a sports conversation. Here are some examples:
They’re canned questions that can get a timely response. I think of these as really generic questions and while I typically advocate for asking specific questions that get you closer to your conversation goal, these questions work just fine at starting a conversation.
BUT… your goal probably isn’t just to...
The two most obvious stories grabbing headlines this week are Christmas and COVID. Now seems to be a good time to offer a gentle reminder to make good choices with your conversation starters this week, especially if you’re around family. Just because something is making news doesn’t mean it makes for great conversation at the dinner table.
Even sports headlines are challenging these days, because of the prevalence of COVID. I won’t be the one to tell you not to talk sports, I will be the one who says try to stick to sports, or a safe “sports adjacent” topic to keep the Christmas spirit and family conversations on track.
Here are a few headlines you can use for sports small talk if you choose to go that route.
The end of the year is always a time of reflection. It's a time to evaluate what worked what didn't. Where you had success and where you can be even more successful next year.
As former NFL GM Randy Mueller explains, doing the "crap jobs" develop character. It's part of your story and it's how you demonstrate authenticity as a leader. When people know you've failed or you've done the dirty work or overcome adversity they can better relate to you and follow your lead.
So when you evaluate 2021 don't gloss over where you've failed, overcome challenges and persevered. It's just as important as the success and the wins you've enjoyed.
You can find more insights from Randy and other leaders on YouTube.
I feel fortunate when my work travel schedule takes me back home and gives me a chance to see family. That’s what happened during the weekend when I was in Houston. Each family member I talked to – including my 4-year-old nephew – talked sports to me, regardless of their true interest in Seattle sports. I work in sports. I was in town for a game. It makes sense they would use sports as a conversation starter.
It also makes sense that people would start sports conversations with you when they know you’re a sports fan. Use can use these sports conversation starters to indicate you’re a sports fan. You don’t have to engage in long conversations, just mention them in small talk. Even if there are no follow up questions, debates or interactions you’re setting the stage for future interactions.
Don’t be shy, these topics are making news around the sports world this week.
I’ve taken a fair amount of grief from my family in the last week over my Christmas list. According to them, it’s too short. The way I see it, having fewer options makes it easier. Limiting options narrows the focus and takes the guesswork out of next steps, which in this case is what to buy for Christmas.
The same thing is true when it comes to sports headlines. There are hundreds of sports headlines you could choose to talk about. That’s the great thing about sports but it can also be overwhelming. It’s why narrowing your focus to just a few topics makes the next steps – using them in conversation – easier. Here are a handful of sports conversation starters that take the guesswork out of sports small talk this week.
Not every leadership role is a “starring” role. There are supporting roles, in fact, that might fit your personality and skillset more than being front and center.
You could spend this week asking everyone what they did for the Thanksgiving holiday, what they purchased on Black Friday and if their Christmas decorations are up.
But if you get tired of that conversation track try sports small talk and these conversation starters.
When it comes to thanks and praise would you rather give or receive?
It’s a bit of a trick question because you should be equally adept at both. This time of year gives you a chance to practice showing gratitude and receiving compliments.
Graciously receiving a compliment is a skill and it’s important to the narrative you create at work.
If someone says, “Great work! I’m really impressed by how that turned out” and your first reaction to say something like, “It was nothing” you aren’t being humble, you’re lying. It was something. In fact, your efforts made someone stop and notice enough to pay you a compliment. That’s an opportunity to own your accomplishment. Don’t downplay your skills, efforts or success. Don’t shrink back. And don’t give all the credit to your team.
You might be used to saying something like, “My team deserves all the credit” without realizing what you’re actually...
Happy Thanksgiving week! There is a good chance you’ll be expected to make casual conversation this week with friends or family. There’s an equally good chance you’ll be trying to navigate potential conversation minefields. Sports can help you reign in some of the conversations and keep it light.
It’s okay to think outside the box scores and talk about “sports adjacent” topics related to a game. Think about things like location, favorite game-day food or ritual, maybe you’ve seen a concert at the same venue that’s hosting a sporting event, which can help you transition to music and other fun things you have on the calendar - all of those topics can start with sports, but end up in other fun conversations.
Of course, if you prefer to stick to sports these conversation starters can do the trick.
A sporting event is just that – an event. There’s always more going on than the game itself and that introduces additional conversation topics outside of the stats, scores and outcome.
Sports conversations don’t have to focus on the game itself. You can choose to talk about the experience of watching a game.
The Super Bowl is a great example. You could talk about the teams and players or you could talk about the food, commercials, halftime entertainment, location, parties you’ll attend and who you’ll be watching it with.
There are few events as big as the Super Bowl during the year, but these potential conversation topics exist in every game. You could choose to talk about what you ate a game, or restaurants near the stadium you like to visit. Talking about the vibe in the building or the friends who went to the game with you is an option too. If you watched a game on TV, the location of the game could lead to conversations about travel or personal...