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I'M ONE TO TALK

Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.

Talking to People in Person: Start with Hello

I don’t think about myself as working in a male dominated environment. Which sounds odd coming from someone who’s spent 20 years inside sports locker rooms as a sideline reporter and sports broadcaster.

I get lots of questions about what it’s like in a locker room. Here’s what I see: Talented and skilled people who want to excel and succeed at a high level. People who can deliver in pressure situations because of the hours they spend training and preparing.

There are two things you should recognize about what I just described:

  1. I could just as easily have been describing the people you work with. The job descriptions are different but the drive and desire to win can be the same. (Although your office probably smells better and has less laundry on the floor.)
  2. This is not a group of people that has time to waste in their day. Athletes regularly put in 10 to 12-hour days and sit through more meetings than you might realize.

When I take these things into...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

You don’t have to watch a game to talk about the outcome. Just like you don’t have see a TV show to know what it’s about. And you don’t need to follow an actor’s entire career to enjoy a little celebrity gossip (if that’s your thing.)

Here’s what you do need: enough information and confidence to have a conversation.

Whether you’re skimming the latest version of People magazine (which I actually did while on vacation this weekend) or glancing through these sports conversation starters. Don’t discount how much you don’t know without realize that you probably know more than enough to make small talk for 30-60 seconds, and that’s all it takes.

Here’s something else to consider: the process is the same for building your knowledge base whether you’re talking about sports, music, entertainment, bitcoin, etc…

  1. Start small with a headline or two.
  2. Keep the conversations short.
  3. Have an exit strategy.

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

With so many sporting events happening over the weekend this is the perfect chance to sit back and let sports fans take the lead in small talk this week.

We’re not just talking “Big 4” sports (football, basketball, baseball and hockey.) Tennis, soccer, racing, horse racing and golf are in the headlines this week. And don’t forget about little league, softball and other youth sports taking place right now. A lot of things fall under the sports umbrella. Think bigger when you start the conversation and let the sports fan you’re talk to run with it. 

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How to Talk to People in Person

 

In-person conversations are making a comeback and chances are you’re a little rusty at those interactions after a year of working from home and virtual gatherings. People are finding that what worked before the pandemic like asking “What’s new?” or “How are you?” isn’t effective. And to be honest, it wasn’t a good approach to begin with.

People are finding it’s harder to start a conversation and keep it going than before the pandemic. Three conversation strategies can dramatically increase the quality of those interactions and reduce the stress of trying to figure out what to say.

Introductions need context. Your name isn’t enough. Your job description or title isn’t interesting. Tell people why you’re having the conversation in the first place.

Prepare an answer for “How are you?” You know you’re going to get the question. What you might not realize is your answer unlocks the potential of the...

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Learn from a Leader: Own the Arena

Here’s a TV pro tip for making your eyes and your entire face look less tired – wear a dark or brightly colored shade of lipstick. The pop of color draws attention away from your eyes (and the dark circles or bags underneath them) and helps off-set a lack of sleep.

I’ve done this many times and I can tell you from personal experience it’s a small thing that makes a big difference, not only in what the audience sees, but in how I see myself that day.   

Showing up is half the battle as that quote goes, but as an on-air personality the way I show up counts. As a leader it’s not enough to show up. The way you show up is part of your brand and the message you communicate to others.

It’s up to you to own your space, or as former professional tennis player and past USTA president Katrina Adams would say “Own the Arena.” She joined the Learn from a Leader series to talk about her new book and the many leadership lessons she learned...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

Your favorite athlete is part of your personal brand. There’s a reason you were drawn to that athlete. There are things you appreciate about the way they approach their craft, or show leadership or show up in the community. Favorite athletes are not accident. It’s not a name you drew out of a hat.

Your favorite athlete says something about you which is why it’s part of your personal brand.

It’s another example of how sports conversations are more than stats and scores. You can convey messages about who you are and what you value in the way you talk about a game, athlete or outcome – as long as you’re strategic and intentional in your messaging.

Spend a few minutes thinking about what you want to communicate this week. See if you can tie it into one of these topics that are already making headlines and enhance your personal brand using sports small talk.

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Preparing for In-Person Conversations

The NFL schedule was released yesterday. I love schedule release day. I actually enjoy most schedule releases because it allows me to plan, prepare and map out the future.

Unlike my own schedule, the NFL schedule only changes in minor ways. Teams don’t flip-flop days or change their bye weeks. They play the game on the schedule. When it’s time for the season to start there is no option for a team to push back their season opener a few days because they don’t feel ready. It’s go time.

The start of the NFL season (August for preseason, September for regular season games) will also be go time for many people returning to an office building or transitioning to a hybrid work environment. The actual date might not be as locked in as the NFL schedule, but it’s happening.

Now is the time to prepare for that schedule change, the transitions that will take place and the communication skills you need to make it all work. That’s the skill you need to focus on...

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Learn from a Leader: Collecting Talent vs. Building a Team

The NFL Draft isn't just about building a football team. It's talent evaluation being covered and talked about as a sports event. 

Every leader and business owner makes the same types of decisions as NFL general managers. They can also make the same types of mistakes. Here's the biggest one: acquiring talent vs. building a team.

There's  one thing that determines whether you are building a team or just acquiring talent: the job description itself. 

Former NFL GM Randy Mueller explains why that's key when evaluating talent and identifying the best fit for your team. 

Learn from a Leader is a monthly series hosted by Jen Mueller and features CEO's, visionaries, thought leaders and action takers. Join the conversation and the next Learn from a Leader session for free. 

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

Sports talk tip: The topic you start with isn’t the only one worth talking about. Sports can be a springboard to other conversations and this week the NFL Draft is a great conversation starter in your business meetings. Here’s why – the NFL Draft is about talent evaluation, identifying and addressing talent gaps on a team and onboarding new team members.

You might only have a passing interest in which order the quarterbacks get drafted but there’s a very personal interest in who you have on your team at work, gaps that need to be filled and how you get new team members up to speed in a virtual or hybrid work environment. The NFL Draft is a timely topic to bring up those conversations this week.

Here are a few other sports topics you can use in your small talk:

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Talking to People in Real Life: State the obvious, it's uncomfortable!

I know there’s a lot of angst and anxiety around returning to work and I know part of that stress comes from the thought of social interactions. Talking to people in real life is something we haven’t done much, if at all, in the last year. In fact we pivoted to the exact opposite. Virtual interactions with a mute button and an option to keep your camera turned off. 

It is possible that you’ve been silently hiding for more than a year and now showing up, being seen, being heard and talking to people is a huge overwhelming shift. 

And if you’ve had a few awkward encounters already… well, that doesn’t help your confidence or make it any easier to believe that  you can do it AND that it’s important you talk to your colleagues again in person. You might prefer to work virtually and stay hidden away but when you work with a team, they might need you to show up an engage in person for the good of the team and its collective goals.

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