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

Practicing Leadership – By Taking a Break

leadership vacation Jul 16, 2019

Being overworked doesn’t make you the hardest working person in your office.

Exhaustion and stress reduce your effectiveness at work. The resulting “busyness” is just that.

Sometimes you need a break.

Studies have shown even short vacations improve your health, focus, sleep and reaction time. In other words, a vacation from work helps you be a better leader.

In fact, Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais forced starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi to take a short vacation from work at the beginning of the month. Kikuchi has a tendency to throw a lot between starts. When his extra work started to produce diminishing returns, Servias created a schedule that didn’t allow him to throw for two days. When Kikuchi return to his throwing program, the difference was noticeable. There was more life on the ball and a different energy around the pitcher. Taking a break increased his results.

Don’t confuse productivity for busyness and don’t think you can...

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Practice Your Response, Not Your Reaction Time

leadership Jul 09, 2019

Emotions run high in sports. Whether it’s the thrill of victory or the crushing blow of defeat emotion drives reactions from fans, coaches and players. It’s natural. It’s also another reason “fan” is short for fanatic.

It’s one thing to react to sports outcomes but if it carries over into the workplace it will be one of the things that detracts from being seen as a leader.

Media today loves a good “hot take.” There are entire shows developed around guests/hosts who stir the pot and say the most immediate emotional thing that comes to mind.

Leaders don’t give hot takes.

Great leaders recognize formulating a thoughtful response is more effective in getting a point across, creating buy-in or providing feedback.

Great leaders see the bigger picture. They understand how an emotionally charged rant can burn bridges, damage relationships and hurt their effectiveness.

Do you?

If you’re more prone to react to a situation keep...

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Summer Blog Reading List – Best of Talk Sporty to Me

leadership Jul 01, 2019

We’re past the halfway point of the year which means it’s not only time to re-evaluate your yearly goals, but reconsider how your conversation skills can help you reach your goals. It’s something I said at the begining of the year and it’s worth repeating. Your conversation skills determine your success. Period. End of story. If you can’t effectively explain your ideas, ask for help, talk through challenges and generate buy-in you won’t be able to reach your goals.

Whether you’re on track to reach your goal or coming up short, the conversation skills shared throughout the year on the Talk Sporty to Me blog can help. Here are my Top 5 Blog Posts for your summer reading list.

  1. Conversations are not the place to show off your multi-tasking skills. Trying to communicate a laundry list of items at the wrong time might feel like you’re getting things done, but if you leave your colleague with his spinning the conversation wasn’t...
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You “Can” Succeed, But Do You “Want” To?

leadership Jun 27, 2019

Success in any situation starts with your attitude – and your want to.

Which is why Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” A positive attitude and belief in yourself is great (and necessary)  but here’s the next question you should ask:

Do you want to succeed?

Having the confidence to succeed is different than having the willingness to succeed. Wanting to succeed means you’re looking for ways to win in every situation and it changes the way you approach conversations and interactions with colleagues.

  • Do you want conversations to go smoothly, or do you expect them to be contentious and confrontational?
  • Do you want to spell things out and make the details of a project clear to colleagues, or would you prefer to keep them in the dark so you can control the situation regardless of how it affects the people you work with?
  • Do you give colleagues the benefit of the doubt when you talk to them, or do you assume...
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The Truth About “Team Wins”

High performing teams need separation and silos – in moderation.

Here’s the thing about team wins – they’re a result of different people and different groups of people executing their expertise. Maybe it’s the offense delivering five home runs to back a great pitching performance. It could be the defense coming up with a big stop after the offense rallied to score late. Then there’s the 18 points scored by the reserve off the bench after the starter got hurt in the first half.

In sports we recognize there are different positions, skill sets and expertise. In business we’re quick to call them silos and even quicker to try and eliminate them.

Here are few reasons silos form in locker rooms:

Function/purpose. Your role determines the people you talk to most. For example: Position groups in football versus the departments in your office. If you work in payroll you spend more time talking to people in payroll by function of your...

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Practicing Leadership: Coachability, Delegating and Time Management

leadership Jun 03, 2019

As a sports broadcaster I work with and talk to coaches every day.

So do you.

They might not be called coaches, but you work with people who coach you up, give you feedback, provide instruction and hold you accountable. Instead of calling them coach, you probably call them boss, manager, supervisor, team leads, or in some cases colleagues. What you call them doesn’t matter. Your response to them does.

Coachability is a skill that gets you to the next level of your career.

You see it all the time in athletes. What got an athlete like Mariners centerfielder Mallex Smith to the big leagues won’t keep him in the big leagues. He’s had to make adjustments and be coachable.

No one likes a know-it-all or someone who doesn’t believe they have any room for improvement. There’s always something you can learn and do better. The skills that helped you land a job won’t be enough for you to keep the job. You need to add to it, develop, learn and take coaching...

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Don’t Make This Mistake in a Business Conversation – Keeping Expectations to Yourself

leadership May 29, 2019

Committing to better business communication improves the flow of information. But that’s not all.

Effective communicators can get more done in less time by communicating their objectives, time frames and next steps in addition to their actual message.

Reading that sentence (or hearing me describe it in the video) probably makes sense.

So why don’t you do it?

I hate to be the one to tell you, but a lot of your frustrations with colleagues (spouses and kids, for that matter) are because you’re withholding information. You’re not verbalizing details that allow them to take the appropriate action, the best next steps, or the right decision.

NOTE** Don’t think you do this? Consider the last time you asked your spouse to empty the dishwasher or fold clothes. How frustrated did you get when the chore wasn’t completed on your timeline? Did you actually communicate your prefered timeline, as in, did you say, “Could you empty the dishwasher before I...

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Better Business Communication – Win Even in a Disappointing Conversation

Trust the process.

I’ve lost track of the number of times athletes have said that during post-game interviews.

I understand what they’re saying, but sometimes I think it’s a load of crap because what you’re actually saying is I don’t care if I win or lose and everyone knows that winning is better.

But there are different ways to win in a situation and sometimes just going through a situation (and trusting the process) is a win, especially if you use it as a fact-finding mission.

Just like athlete isn’t always going to deliver the game-winning run to win the game, you are not always going to be successful in the way you hoped. You’re not always going to get the job you applied for, the raise you asked for, the project you wanted to take on but it doesn’t mean the situation isn’t worth experiencing.

Just because the outcome isn’t what you wanted doesn’t mean the conversation or experience was a waste of time.


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Mentorship Moments: Nelson Cruz Let Me Drive His Car!

leadership mentorship May 09, 2019

After 20 years of working in sports, I’m frequently asked, “Who’s your favorite player to interview?”

I’m sure the answer, “I can’t name just one,” disappoints everyone, but it’s the truth.

I’ve been blessed and fortunate to meet a number of incredibly talented and incredibly wonderful human beings.

Every single one of the them has reinforced that people are people.

The athletes I’ve covered have taught me a lot about how to relate to people from different backgrounds, the importance of developing relationships and ways to leverage the relationships you already have in making new ones.

It’s something I talk about often during presentations I give corporate clients and it’s the subject of one of the Mentorship Moments I posted to inspire young women, aspiring journalists and up-and-coming leaders.

Take a look.

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3 Ways to Identify Up-and-Coming Leaders

leadership May 07, 2019

Leadership skills aren’t acquired, they’re developed and encouraged.

Which means you can’t sit back and wait until you’re ready to be a leader. In fact, if you want to identify a leader – look for initiative. That’s according to Beth Knox former President and CEO of Seafair and the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games.

Beth joined me recently for my Learn from a Leader online leadership development series and shared these thoughts on identifying leaders.

“Initiative to me is someone who is curious. They ask questions.” Taking initiative includes asking questions about what the end result should look like.

Take this action: Build business relationships. It’s easier to have conversations with established leaders regarding their vision for a specific project or company objectives when there’s an exsisting relationship in place. Starting conversations is a way to show initiative. Use small talk to develop business...

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