Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
There’s value in being in a space where you can watch someone work. Learn from their example. But there’s additional value in having conversations through that process.
This is a leadership reminder from Kristin Scheelar, associate winemaker at Columbia Winery: “Create an environment where interns don’t feel insecure about asking elementary questions.”
The first step in that process is encouraging and inviting interns to ask questions, but if you want them to take advantage of those opportunities it’s helpful to go one step further.
Simply saying, “I’m here if you have any questions” sounds open and encouraging until you consider saying something like:
“I love talking about _____. If you have any questions around ____ please come find me because that’s my jam.”
That is a very specific message. There’s no confusion surrounding what an intern should ask you about. The phrasing not only encourages...
It’s the easiest sports(ish) conversation starter of the year: How many hot dogs could you eat?
In case you’ve forgotten (and how could you?) July 4th is the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Competitors have 10 minutes to eat as many hot dogs and buns as they can. Joey Chestnut is the world’s No.1- ranked eater. He topped his own record last year by consuming 76 hot dogs and buns. Miki Sudo is the top-ranked female eater in the world and set the women’s record of 48.5 hot dogs and buns in 2020.
Probably more than you’d like to know about competitive eating, but it can be a fun conversation starter with family and friends of all ages. Especially if you throw in questions like these:
Have some fun debates during your holiday...
Just like I can’t tell you how to be a fan. I can’t tell you how to be a frustrated or disappointed fan. I CAN tell you when fandom crosses the line into bullying and jerk-ish behavior. As a sports broadcaster who has covered several losing teams and teams that haven’t lived up to expectations, I have a lot of experience watching frustrated fans react.
I know you want to think that what happens at a ballpark, stadium or arena stays there and that you as a fan are different than you as a person who shows up for work every day, but that’s not how it works. You are the same person. Your fandom is part of your personal brand. It’s easy for emotions to take over and for frustrations to turn into personal attacks, name calling, bullying and even harassment. I’ve not only seen it all, I’ve been on the receiving end of all of it. I’ve also been a fan for as long as I can remember, so I know frustrating it can get.
Instead of going off...
Welcome to sports conversation starters designed to meet you where you’re at with your schedule, knowledge base, comfort level and interest level this week.
Sporting events don’t always fit into busy schedules. If you’ve only got time for the highlights and high level talking points this list is for you.
Each week I pick a handful of topics I’m confident will get the most coverage so you’ll be growing your sports knowledge base and getting useful nuggets for small talk. So dive in, take a chance and Talk Sporty this week.
Habits can be tough to break, especially when there’s no obvious need to change what you’ve grown comfortable doing. Take standard small talk and conversation norms. It’s polite and even expected that the question “How are you?” is part of a standard greeting. No one questions this approach to a conversation, but nearly everyone falls prey to the awkward silence that follows. You know how this goes:
“Hey, good to see you! How are you?”
“I’m good! How are you?”
The awkward silence generally comes next in the conversation has always been there, but my guess is you had an easier time recovering and filling the void before the pandemic. At least, that’s been my experience. Two years ago, I didn’t have to try so hard to figure out what came next in the conversation and as someone who got “talks too much” on every single report card, I didn’t expect short...
"We should stop apologizing to each other."
I laughed when a colleague said that yesterday. We were probably a half dozen apologies into a conversation in which we were cutting each other off or not hearing correctly. It would have been really awkward if we weren't already friends with rapport. We agreed to stop apologizing... and then proceeded to say "I'm sorry" at least two more times, mostly out of habit.
It takes work and intentionality to break out of any kind of habit including what we say in conversations. If you have a habit of ignoring small talk or not preparing for small talk, here's your chance to change that. This list of sports conversation starters gives you topics that will spark conversation, built rapport and help you make connections.
Summer is here (although it doesn't feel like it in the Pacific Northwest!) and you're probably busy relaxing.
It's unlikely you're wasting gorgeous summer days in front of your TV, but there's a good chance you're out and about talking to people. If you need something to generate conversation or introduce a new topic (because you really don't need to see vacation photos from anyone else) here are a few sports topics making news this week.
Did you know that research has shown the average person sends and receives 121 emails a day while at work?
Researchers have also determined every time you are distracted by an email it can take 23 minutes to fully get over a distraction.
If your response to that information is, “I don’t have time for that!” We’re in the same boat.
I’m amazed at how many times I say that… and then inadvertently create more work for myself that leads to even more frustration. For example, getting an email I don’t have time for, and then being forced to deal with a dozen follow up messages because every response from me lacks enough detail to be truly helpful.
Firing off a quick reply to the initial email makes it feel like I’m dealing with it and getting something off my plate but the reality is - I’m creating more work for myself because I’m rarely addressing the actual issue. And I’m much more likely to allow my emotions...
It’s much harder than I expected. I never thought I would feel so tired after talking to people in person every day. I talk for a living for crying out loud! It turns out I’m not the only person in my sports media sphere who feels that way. I had a conversation with a colleague recently who noted how unusually tired he is after small talk in baseball clubhouses.
Small talk is a part of our job. We talk about more than sports with athletes. It’s how we build relationships and get to know people. That’s actually the purpose of small talk. When you approach small talk with intention it’s very beneficial. And here’s what I want you think about – what are you bringing to the conversation?
This is one of the things my colleague and I talked about, the feeling that conversations require more effort now than before the pandemic. We feel pressure to draw out the stories, tidbits and conversations that further the relationship. And we also...
Sometimes it’s not what you say that makes the most impact, it’s what you do.
Take San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler for example. His frustration over the school shooting in Texas last week and the number of shootings in the United States has led him to skip the National Anthem and stay in the clubhouse when it’s played before baseball games. You can read about how other managers around baseball are responding here.
It’s easy to “stick to sports” when talking about weekly conversation starters that could be helpful in small talk. There’s a reason I typically avoid highlighting sports topics that are controversial or emotionally charged – that’s not usually a productive approach to small talk.
But this week I want remind you that sports is more than stats and scores because games are played by human beings with feelings.
You don’t have to agree with Kapler’s response. You don’t have to watch baseball...