Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
Asking your team to over-communicate might lead to more emails, conversations, Slack messages or group texts, but none of that matters if they're not communicating the right things. If you're not on the same page it's a waste of time. People who spend time trying to "over-communicate" the wrong message aren't being productive. Of course, they don't realize that until the message doesn't get a response (or the response they were hoping for) at which point they wonder why they wasted their time, and get frustrated and upset.
Your team needs clear instructions on how to best communicate with you as their manager or leader.
That means you need to spend time thinking about:
The information you really need. Do you want specific sales numbers or confirmation sales are you? The important information might be obvious to you, but your team doesn't see...
It’s been a while since I offered specific instructions on how to use this weekly email. In a nutshell, you scan the list, pick a topic and start a conversation.
If you’re not sure how to get the ball rolling, trying picking one topic and asking a yes/no question. For example:
Don’t be afraid of yes/no questions, they’ll help you get to a compatible conversation topic faster. Plus, when you engage with a sports fan they’ll fill in a lot of the blanks in the conversation.
Which one of these will you use this week?
I love the idea of a fresh start at the beginning of the... and then the “what if’s” set in. Am I the only one?
The Seahawks closed out their season yesterday… and then depression set in.
I quote that line from Stripes somewhat jokingly at the end of football season every year. I get grumpy when the season ends. I miss practices, game day, game prep, my guys and my colleagues.
All I want to do is be grouchy for a couple days before I regroup and start looking ahead.
What I don’t want are fans trying to make me feel better by saying “at least baseball season is just around the corner.” I’m not looking for a silver lining. I’m not interested in talking about baseball in January and I don’t care that you’re excited about baseball season.
That might sound harsh, but this is a bigger conversation skill that sports can help you practice – empathy. Letting someone feel their feelings without jumping in with your own. Allowing someone to feel frustrated, disappointed, upset or sad without offering a reason they shouldn’t be. It...
None of my family members or teachers are surprised I choose a career that involved talking, but some days I'm surprised I ended up as a sports broadcaster. There weren't many opportunities for women to work in sports when I was in college, and it certainly wasn't something that was encouraged.
But I love to compete. That's one of the reasons sports is a natural fit for me.
As a lifelong sports fan, my interest in sports comes naturally. I played multiple sports through high school and when I got college at Southern Methodist University I became an intramural flag football official, which led to a 10-year career officiating high school football and helped lay the foundation for becoming an NFL sideline reporter. I intentionally built a solid sports resume in every job and internship I pursued...
Establish relationships before you need them.
Practice your conversation skills before they’re necessary.
It’s easy to focus on productivity and the need to get things done heading into a new year and coming off the holiday break. Being productive doesn’t just mean powering through tasks. Don’t overlook the impact other people have on your ability to get things done. The relationships you build (or don’t) affect your productivity. Its why small talk is important and something to prioritize.
Be intentional about striking up conversations with colleagues, clients and employees. If you’re looking for things to talk about these sports headlines can help.
Sports is always my go-to conversation starter. Even if I don’t know if I’m talking to a sports fan. I know that uncertainty can make some fans uncomfortable, but sports is truly one of the most efficient ways to spark small talk because the answer doesn’t matter nearly as much as the clarity it provides.
If I lead with “Did you see the game last night?” I know I’m going to get one of two answers, and quite honestly I don’t care which one it is. If the answer is “Yes” I know I can follow up with another sports question or a question about the game. If the answer is “No” I can ask something like, “What did you have going on last night?” And now I’m into a conversation without playing 20 questions or asking a handful of questions while trying to find something meaningful. Using sports as a starting point made it easier to make a connection and have a productive exchange.
This is the time of year for goal setting and predictions. Most people are either making New Year’s resolutions or predicting what will happen in the coming year. For example: Tom Brady will retire in 2022. I’m not saying I agree with that one, but it’s possible….
Here’s what I’m going to throw out there – resolve to get better at small talk and I can correctly predict you’ll become a better communicator. Small talk, as unimportant as it seems, gives you a chance to practice thinking on your feet, talking to people you don’t know well and navigating uncharted territory in conversation. Being comfortable with being uncomfortable is a great skill to have as a leader and a communicator. Use these sports conversation starters to practice this week.
I’m a firm believer in preparing for little conversations like small talk because a.) I want my interactions to be productive b.) I don’t want them to be awkward, especially if I’m trying to build a relationship.
Preparation can range from doing a little research on people I’ll encounter, identifying success statements I can use in response to “How are you?” and having a few general questions in my back pocket to start a sports conversation. Here are some examples:
They’re canned questions that can get a timely response. I think of these as really generic questions and while I typically advocate for asking specific questions that get you closer to your conversation goal, these questions work just fine at starting a conversation.
BUT… your goal probably isn’t just to...
The two most obvious stories grabbing headlines this week are Christmas and COVID. Now seems to be a good time to offer a gentle reminder to make good choices with your conversation starters this week, especially if you’re around family. Just because something is making news doesn’t mean it makes for great conversation at the dinner table.
Even sports headlines are challenging these days, because of the prevalence of COVID. I won’t be the one to tell you not to talk sports, I will be the one who says try to stick to sports, or a safe “sports adjacent” topic to keep the Christmas spirit and family conversations on track.
Here are a few headlines you can use for sports small talk if you choose to go that route.