Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
When it comes to thanks and praise would you rather give or receive?
It’s a bit of a trick question because you should be equally adept at both. This time of year gives you a chance to practice showing gratitude and receiving compliments.
Graciously receiving a compliment is a skill and it’s important to the narrative you create at work.
If someone says, “Great work! I’m really impressed by how that turned out” and your first reaction to say something like, “It was nothing” you aren’t being humble, you’re lying. It was something. In fact, your efforts made someone stop and notice enough to pay you a compliment. That’s an opportunity to own your accomplishment. Don’t downplay your skills, efforts or success. Don’t shrink back. And don’t give all the credit to your team.
You might be used to saying something like, “My team deserves all the credit” without realizing what you’re actually...
Happy Thanksgiving week! There is a good chance you’ll be expected to make casual conversation this week with friends or family. There’s an equally good chance you’ll be trying to navigate potential conversation minefields. Sports can help you reign in some of the conversations and keep it light.
It’s okay to think outside the box scores and talk about “sports adjacent” topics related to a game. Think about things like location, favorite game-day food or ritual, maybe you’ve seen a concert at the same venue that’s hosting a sporting event, which can help you transition to music and other fun things you have on the calendar - all of those topics can start with sports, but end up in other fun conversations.
Of course, if you prefer to stick to sports these conversation starters can do the trick.
A sporting event is just that – an event. There’s always more going on than the game itself and that introduces additional conversation topics outside of the stats, scores and outcome.
Sports conversations don’t have to focus on the game itself. You can choose to talk about the experience of watching a game.
The Super Bowl is a great example. You could talk about the teams and players or you could talk about the food, commercials, halftime entertainment, location, parties you’ll attend and who you’ll be watching it with.
There are few events as big as the Super Bowl during the year, but these potential conversation topics exist in every game. You could choose to talk about what you ate a game, or restaurants near the stadium you like to visit. Talking about the vibe in the building or the friends who went to the game with you is an option too. If you watched a game on TV, the location of the game could lead to conversations about travel or personal...
My current travel schedule takes me all over the country covering football and hockey. In each city I try to find something unique or local to the area. (It’s how I ended up at a Piggly Wiggly grocery store somewhere between Milwaukee and Green Bay on Saturday night, but that’s an entirely different story.)
Here’s what not unique – the way fans talk about their team and sports in general. Fan bases have their own identities, but the way they actually talk about sports is similar. That means if you have a topic and something to say, you can talk to any fan you encounter.
These sports conversation starters can help you with that this week.
Talented teams and athletes make winning look effortless. It’s not just their physical strength and abilities that lead to results, it’s the habits they lean on daily that produce great outcomes.
There’s always more going on behind the scenes than what you see on game day. The same is true in your office and with your team. Your habits determine your success even more than your talent and hard work.
Here are three high-performance habits you can borrow from sports to help you win at work.
Sports conversations are a great place to practice the skills you need in other conversations.
For example, diversity of thought and being inclusive at work requires the ability to listen to colleagues with different experiences and backgrounds. Practice by listening to fans with different opinions and backgrounds.
You don’t have to cheer for the same team, see eye-to-eye on a big free-agent signing or agree on the best player of all time. But you can join the conversation with the intention of listening and respecting other fans.
Here are a few topics to get those conversations started this week.
If you’ve jumped on the Ted Lasso bandwagon you know it is possible to be kind and competitive at the same time.
It’s a scripted show with a Hollywood storyline but I’ve actually worked with coaches who are that kind. I’ve seen fans be the ultimate encouragers. I’ve experienced entire communities rally around sports.
And after 20 years in sports broadcasting, I’ve seen the opposite.
I’ve heard fans yelling profanities at teenagers and try to explain their bad behavior by saying sports is their escape. Claiming you’re a different person at a game than you are at work is a convenient cop out, but it’s not true. You are the same person on game day as you are every other day of the week. The environment is different, but you are an extension of the same person. That’s why it’s important to be as intentional with your fandom as you are in your business relationships. This is all part of your brand.
As someone who attends...
If initiating small talk isn’t your jam, then bring the conversation to you by displaying the logo of your favorite team where people can see it.
You could wear it, use a notebook or pen that has a team logo or make sure it’s in view of your Zoom background. Sports fans will pick up on it and ask.
If you do feel like striking up the conversation, these sports conversation starters will help.
If starting a conversation is intimidating or challenging for you, use this Talk Sporty 101 tactic to bring the conversation to you - wear your team's logo.
When you wear the logo of your favorite team you make it easy for other people to say something first. This strategy is particularly effective for introverts and if you're in large group settings, like parties and networking events, that might be overwhelming.
Here are a few things to remember when using this strategy:
This is a great approach if you don't want to be the first person to say something. In addition, it will help you identify other sports fans who would be open to sports small talk.
You can’t gain more confidence without practice.
As Nike taught us a long time ago – just do it.
It doesn’t get easier to strike up conversations with strangers, or initiate a sports conversation, or lead a meeting or attend a networking event unless you just do it.
Find small ways to step out of your comfort zone, like committing to a quick 30-second small talk exchange. These sports conversation starters can help with what to say.