Hot mic moments. I think we've all had them at some point in the last couple years with as much as we've spent logged on to virtual meetings, conferences and happy hours.
You know how cringe-worthy those moments can be. And I know the dangers of having a hot mic moment on live TV. Up until recently I'd never had one, but after 22 years in sports broadcasting, it happened. And I actually wouldn't mind if it happened again because it showed that practice what I preach.
It's important to practice for conversations and interactions big and small and that's exactly what I was doing.
The conversations you probably need to practice these days are the ones taking place face-to-face and in-person. Transitioning back to an office is a different dynamic than what we've gotten used to in the last couple years. And here's what people miss - talking to people in person is not like riding a bike. It is a not a skill you learn once, come back to and pick up right where you left off.
Conversations are dynamic. People are unpredictable. You are navigating a brand new situation every time you have a conversation. And you aren't the only one feeling awkward or out of sorts talking to people in person. Even someone like me, an extrovert who talks for a living, has second-guessed their conversation skills after a few exchanges that could have gone better.
And to make this whole thing more tricky, the solution to the problem is to have more awkward conversations because unlike riding a bike you can't get better at talking to people in person without actually, you know, talking to people in person. The good news is that conversations can be measured in seconds, not just minutes.
Here are two things I want you to consider and practice:
1. Start small. Try ordering your coffee in person instead of on an app.
2. Practice ahead of time. Talk to yourself first (just like in my hot mic moment) and rehearse what you're going to say.
Just because you haven't previously thought twice about introducing yourself, ordering coffee or keeping a conversation going in an elevator, doesn't mean you can take those interactions for granted right now. Give yourself the best chance to have the easiest conversation and take a page from me and my hot mic moment.