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

Intentional Relationship Building at Work

You’ve heard the saying “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” which is true up to a point. Knowing someone isn’t enough. I know of a lot of people, so do you. You have to be intentional in building business relationships because that comes first. Before a potential client does business with you, before you get hired for the job, and before a colleague trusts you to be the lead on a project.

Relationships are not the byproduct of working with someone. They are the reason that person worked with you in the first place.

Sometimes we flip the order and assume a good relationship forms over time. That’s not always the case. If a colleague doesn’t trust you from the beginning you’ll have to work twice as hard to win them over, and that’s only if they’re willing to pay attention to your efforts. A potential client isn’t going to fork over money to hire your services if they don’t trust...

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How Clear Can You Be?

No one has time for everything.

You’re going to have to delegate some tasks and not in the wishy-washy, “Do you think, if you get a minute and it’s not too much trouble that you could help me out?” kind of way.

That approach won’t get you any closer to a completed task or greater productivity. Failing to make a direct ask leads to frustration, guilt, anxiety and stress and not because people around you aren’t willing to help, but because of the way you asked.

Giving clear directions doesn’t mean you’re bossing people around or acting like a dictator. It simply means you’re spelling out what you need, when you need it and getting confirmation on next steps.

I call it the E.T.A. approach to conversations. It stands for Expectation, Timeline and Action Item and it makes all the difference in being able to get things done.

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3 Ways to Avoid Self-Doubt as a Leader

conversation starters Sep 23, 2019

Leaders motivate others to think bigger and do better.

But what motivates a leader to stay the course?

Seeing results certainly helps but even when employees or team members take immediate action toward thinking bigger and doing better, there’s often a runway to success.

Leaving time for the “What if’s” to creep in.

  • “What if I should have taken a different approach?”
  • “What if I misjudged their ability?”
  • “What if this doesn’t lead to the results we need?”
  • “What if I’m doing this all wrong?”

Even the best leaders deal with doubt and need a confidence boost (or a kick in the pants.) Asking for that kind of support can be tricky, because who do you turn to when you’re already in a vulnerable place?

After being around athletes for nearly 20 years, I know that every single one of them deals with this kind of self-doubt. Regaining confidence, and motivation to stay the course usually includes asking...

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Leadership Lessons from My Past Life as a Football Official

leadership Sep 06, 2019

I grew up believing that hard work alone would get me where I wanted to go in life. That being loud was a character flaw to overcome. That blending in was best, because you don’t want to rock the boat or make anyone uncomfortable and that the best way to deal with conflict was to back down and somehow make it my fault because, again, I wouldn’t want to make someone feel badly.

Ten years as a high school football official changed those beliefs.

My time on the field gave me a blueprint for communicating under pressure, dealing with criticism, and demonstrated the importance of making some noise.

Lessons learned on the field went way beyond football. Being a high school football official provided a lifetime of leadership lessons.

Leadership Lessons Learned on the Sidelines

  1. When you stand out make it count.Being the only woman in a room of men during weekly meetings and the only female on the sidelines meant every person in the room and every coach on the field knew my...
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Practicing Leadership: 3 Ways to Encourage Up-and-Coming Leaders

leadership Aug 26, 2019
This is what leadership looks like. We see it on the field of play with our favorite teams and players. Those same actions and mindsets should be part of the way we approach leadership in our work environment. Just take a look…

Russell Wilson isn’t fighting for a spot on the Seahawks roster. He’s already the starting quarter and a team leader. He doesn’t need pre-season football – but several of his teammates do. They need the preseason experience to prove their value and be seen as a contributor in the organization.

That’s the reason Russell told members of the broadcast team (including me) he feels a sense of responsibility to give guys a chance and help them be their best. Borrow his approach when you’ve identified an up-and-coming leader who isn’t ready for a promotion but shows potential.

3 Ways to encourage up-and-coming leaders

Be intentional about giving unproven talent attention. For Russell that means, looking in the...

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5 Conversation Skills Great Leaders Master – Webinar Series

leadership Aug 23, 2019

Leaders know leadership doesn’t come through a title. It’s your ability to influence people that makes you a leader.

That type of leadership starts with the way you handle 1-on-1 interactions which is why Jen is bringing back 5 Conversation Skills Great Leaders Master.

The strategies in this series are:

Practical. Jen based them on the same ones she uses every day in sports and business conversations

Efficient. They take just 15-seconds to implement because Jen doesn’t have time to waste on TV and neither do you!

Results-driven. You’ll see skyrocketing improvement in the way team members respond and your overall productivity.

Register here for just $45! Can’t join live? No problem; it’s recorded. 

We’ll cover ways to:

1. Share success without bragging so you can better negotiate for yourself.

2. Deliver clear instructions without sounding bossy.

3. Motivate team members to take the “right” next...

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Mentorship Moments: The Importance of Relationships…and Doug Baldwin

leadership mentorship Aug 13, 2019
Holding a microphone doesn’t guarantee an interview.

Being a reporter doesn’t mean people will talk to you.

And even when you do secure an interview and get someone to talk – there’s no assurances they’ll make you look good. Every time I ask a question there’s an opportunity for an athlete to contradict me, correct me or just make me look bad. It’s why I spend so much time building relationships and why I’m especially grateful when they are intentional about making me look good – even when I ask a terrible question.

That’s how former Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin and I became friends.

My first interview with Doug took place during preseason his rookie year. I lost my train of thought during a question, tried to recover, but ended up stumbling around and spitting out something that in no way resembled a good question.

I knew it was a disaster.

I braced myself for his response… which was brilliant.

He answered...

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3 Ways Leaders Support Other Leaders – Advice from Seahawks Linebacker K.J. Wright

leadership seahawks Aug 05, 2019

Leadership doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s not a solo proposition.

The best leaders recognize buy-in and support is critical for success, which is why they actively seek ways to support other leaders within an organization. It’s what K.J. Wright does inside the Seahawks locker room because great leaders are good followers. They understand the importance of backing decision-makers.

Great leaders are good followers.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is the ultimate decision-maker for the guys inside the Seahawks locker room. But the team is only as successful as individual players and leaders inside the locker room allow.

Leaders don’t have to be the ones calling the shots to take on a leadership role.

The same is true in your work environment. A CEO is only as effective as his or her leadership team allows. Winning requires support from other leaders.

K.J. Wright shared his approach to that responsibility in the locker room when he was a featured leader for...

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Feeling Guilty for Taking Time Off? Don’t.

leadership vacation Aug 03, 2019
So much for feeling guilty about time off last month – or the fears that went along with it.

Turns out the fears were unfounded and the time away was needed for the craziness that ensued after my return.

I haven’t had time to post my best vacation photos yet. I’ve given six presentations in the last two weeks, incorporated the start of Seahawks training camp into a schedule that already includes daily Mariners television coverage. (Pro Tip: the best way to beat jet lag is to keep yourself busy enough you don’t have time to be tired.)

Here’s why I’m especially grateful for the frantic pace the last couple weeks – because going on vacation stirs up a lot of insecurities. I worry that taking an extended break will kill my mojo and somehow reflect poorly on me. It sounds ridiculous, but I don’t think I’m the only entrepreneur or driven professional who experiences the worry and guilt of a vacation.

See if any one of these...

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Building Relationships with Introverts – A Story from Inside the Seahawks Locker Room


Persistent and strategic.

If those two words don’t describe the way you approach networking, meeting new people or developing business relationships you need a more focused strategy – especially when you meet introverts.

Being outgoing, bubbly, assertive or direct can come across as a very “in your face” approach. It can also be a huge turnoff to a introvert who doesn’t talk much and keeps a tight circle of friends or business contacts.

There are introverts in sports. Lots of ’em. I encounter them in every locker room. And the approach I use in building relationships with an introvert is very different than how I approach extroverts.

Just last season I had to build a relationship with a shy, introverted, Seahawks rookie named Poona Ford. Poona had no interest in talking to me, so I didn’t even try. I talked to the players in his area of the locker room for a few weeks before I actually introduced myself.

If someone...

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