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Talk Sporty 101: No shame in the game


You can be a sports fan for lots of different reasons. It doesn’t have to be because you played sports in high school or because you’ve always been a fan or because your entire family cheers for the Chicago Bears.

You could be a sports fan because it’s a way to connect with will colleagues, it’s a topic your kids will talk about, because you love tailgating or because you think the athletes look good in their uniforms.

There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Your fandom your reasons.

There are three things to remember: 

  1. When you encounter a sports bully who tries to make you feel bad for not being as much of a fan as they are, stick to your guns. You don’t owe them an explanation or an excuse as to why you’re a fan or how long you’ve been a fan. There’s no right or wrong way to be a fan. (Although I’d argue being a bully defeats the purpose of using sports to create community.)
  2. Get comfortable with what you are most comfortable talking about. I call it defining your area of expertise. If you are focused on a local team versus the entire college football landscape, say that. If you only started following the Seattle Seahawks this year and you have no idea what happened last year or five years ago, say that. If you’re a life-long Cubs fan, say that. If you’re only loosely following sports headlines because it’s what everyone in the office talks about, great! Say that. When you add context to your fandom it helps you succeed in the conversation. Other fans know what you’re interested in or comfortable talking about and it gives you the opportunity to introduce a different angle. Which brings us to…
  3. Sports small talk can segue into many other conversations. Know where you want to take the conversation and be prepared to make that transition. A new restaurant near the ballpark, an upcoming trip, the new project you have at work. You can use sports to get to all these topics. Know where you want to go and make a plan to get there. 

August is a great time of year to become a football fan because you’ll be starting at the beginning instead of joining a season in progress. I’ve written a couple books on how to become a sports fan for business, but these resources can help you get up to speed even faster. 

  • Here are a few suggestions on how to talk sporty when you hate sports 
  • Scroll to the bottom of the offers page on you’ll find a How to Talk Sporty at work e-book.  
  • Plus there’s an option to sign up for weekly sports conversation starters delivered right to your inbox by 7am every Monday. You won’t have to search for topics to talk about at work.



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