Last week as I stood in the Mariners clubhouse introducing myself to new players and asking for interviews, I recognized a familiar trend and pattern. On average it took about five interactions for players to smile, open up in conversations and drop their guard in interviews. Those interactions included just walking past me in the hallway, me saying “Hi” in passing, introducing myself and then asking for the interview.
Throughout my career I’ve noticed the five interactions average in building relationships with athletes and coaches.
And here’s the thing to keep in mind, the people I work with recognize that talking to the media is part of their job, but ensuring they do that willingly (I can assure you few people are jumping at the chance to talk after a loss) and openly requires effort on my part to build those relationships.
Maybe you’ve never stopped to think about how many interactions it takes to build a relationship, but you can certainly use small talk where ever you are in that process. Here are a few sports conversation starters that work this week.