Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
Our work relationships are far more important than we give them credit for.
That’s one of the key findings in a recently published book on the scientific study of happiness. The authors also note that it can be difficult and awkward to form relationships because the modern workplace is maximized for efficiency and the ability to work independently. There’s also the fact that many conversation topics are off limits and taboo.
So, what can you do to build relationships that lead to more satisfying relationships at work? Start with small talk. Sports small talk in particular could be the entry point you’re looking for with so many topics you can’t (or shouldn’t) talk about at work.
You don’t have to care about the outcome of a game to engage in a short worthwhile conversation with a colleague. You can learn a lot about the people you work with in every interaction even if it’s just a conversation about one of these sports topics making...
Pointing out a mistake or initiating a conversation about poor performance can be a challenge in business settings. Especially if you don’t like confrontation or when it feels like you’re pointing a finger or calling someone out.
Time management was a huge issue during the NFL Wild Card games. The outcomes of those games doesn’t matter. It’s about the opportunity to have a bigger conversation about something that matters to your team at work.
Look at sports as more than stats and scores and you’ll find ways to make sports talk more useful in business.
All it takes is a Sunday of watching football to realize how judgy I am. I’m not proud of it, but I did find myself making unfair judgements about teams, players, coaches and fans based on what I saw on TV. (As a point of reference, I’m an NFL sideline reporter and rarely have an entire Sunday to watch football but the Seahawks played Saturday and lost so I had a day on the couch to watch football.)
I’ve spent 20+ years in locker rooms and I love my guys, but I can understand why opposing fans might not feel the same way about all the players I’ve covered. I also know from personal experience that getting to know players (i.e. people) on a personal level makes a huge difference. Being willing to engage and cultivate a relationship is the difference between being skeptical and becoming a full-blown fan.
Let me sum up this personal revelation by saying this – you choose the relationships you have with the people around you. You can choose to get to...
In sports it is painfully obvious you need to outscore an opponent to win.
If you say, "That was a big win!" everyone - even non-sports fans - knows that means one team scored more points than the other.
Why am I belaboring this point? Because we rarely make it this simple, straightforward or obvious in business. Things get convoluted quickly. There are multiple interests and just like with any game plan, multiple ways to get to the end result. But unlike sports, we rarely make winning as obvious as we should.
As mentioned in the video, winning looks different for different people. The bottom-line drives decisions, but that means something different for a CEO compared to a manager compared to a direct report.
That brings us back to Thinking Outside the Box Scores... it should be painfully obvious to everyone on your team what counts as a win. You should be able to communicate...
Football is too violent for some people. Baseball is slow for others. Hockey doesn’t make sense to one group of fans while basketball and soccer has never been an interest to others.
You don’t have to share the same opinion about sports as everyone else, but you should consider respecting others for their opinion. You might think the conversation is just about sports, but it’s also a chance to practice conversation skills (and maybe empathy) that’s needed in business conversations. You don’t have to agree but try to talk (and listen) to other sports fans this week using these sports conversation starters.
Even if the oddsmakers say it’s improbable, even when fans hedge their bets and talk a little less trash or refuse to get their hopes up - athletes and coaches refuse to give into the thought of an insurmountable task or being outmatched by an opponent.
It’s never about what the other team does or where they’re likely to come up short. They’re always thinking, talking and working from a position of strength and confidence. It doesn’t mean they don’t see the challenges. It doesn’t mean there isn’t a game plan in place to counter the strengths of the opponent. It means they’re focused on their strengths, they’re capabilities and their best chances to win.
Where are you starting the year? Are you focusing on your...
Happy New Year!
It’s the time of year we typically start new habits and routines. You’re already used to glancing through this weekly list of sports conversation starters, but maybe you add one new thing to your Monday morning routine. It could be paying more attention (like actually reading the headline) of a sport you typically overlook. Or maybe you commit to initiating one more sports conversation a week.
Sports fandom doesn’t have to be time consuming. Sports conversations don’t have to be intense. Both fandom and sports small talk can be useful in relationship building at work. Here are topics you can use this week.
During this holiday season I hope there are more conversations with family and friends than colleagues this week, but regardless of who you encounter these sports conversation starters can help get the conversation going.
Surely you've seen the highlight by now. The final play of the NFL game between the Raiders and the Patriots. The one where New England was heading toward a win. It was almost guaranteed... until a huge mistake at the end of the game that result in an unlikely fumble recovery returned for a touchdown by the Las Vegas Raiders.
As a football fan, I couldn't believe the end of the game. That highlight will be shown for decades.
As a business owner, I see the potential for more conversations than just the outcome because I know mistakes happen, but they rarely happen in such a public way. The final play of that game was a HUGE mistake. Everyone at the game and on the field saw it. Millions of other people (fans and non fans alike) have seen the play. It wasn't just a mistake, it was a lack of fundamentals and there was a conversation after the game about accountability and who was responsible for the mistake and ultimately the loss.
In sports all of that gets...
I call them conversation starters, but sometimes you don’t feel like talking. Or maybe you can’t get word in edgewise with your family. Or maybe none of your friends want to talk sports at the holiday gathering.
You can use the information in the weekly list to start conversations, but it’s just as effective in helping build your sports knowledge base. I intentionally build on storylines and keep coming back to specific names, teams and milestones to increase familiarity. It shouldn’t feel like you’re starting over every week. That’s discouraging. I want you to feel like you’re adding to what you’ve already heard about.
Whether you’re talking sports or just staying up to date on the latest sports headlines making news this list is for you.