Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
NFL Training Camps get underway this week. It’s one of my favorite times of the year, not just because I love football, but because of the networking opportunities in football conversations.
This week is a great time to check in with football fans and ask questions like:
Here’s the important part – you actually need to listen to their response because they’re giving you an easy way to “circle back around” in a month when training camp ends and later in the season.
That’s when small talk becomes beneficial, when you make a connection and create follow up opportunities. There are a number of topics you can use this week:
“What’s your favorite season?”
Today I’m borrowing a little inspiration from a scene in Schitt’s Creek.
Of course, Moira Rose answered the question with “Awards Season.” My answer would have something to do with my favorite sports season.
I’ll admit it’s a more interesting conversation starter than I initially thought when I laughed out loud at the scene. There are two things here: If you’re not specific with your small talk question you will potentially get a random answer and sometimes you need to think outside the box to spark a conversation.
With that in mind, here are a few sports topics you can use in striking up small talk conversations this week.
There’s no one way to be a sports fan. There’s no time requirement you to have to meet to be considered a fan.
If sports seems less important to you because of world events or maybe life in general, it’s okay. It does not make you a bad fan. It could mean you’re less invested, but you always get to choose your level of sports interest and engagement. It’s okay if it changes. There will be ebbs and flows in your fandom. Cut yourself some slack in how you characterize yourself as a fan.
If you find yourself thinking you're a "bad" fan consider these questions:
Adjust the time spent consuming sports or sports news based on your answers.
Sports is supposed to be fun an “add-on” to everything else going on in your life. Sports can be a distraction or an escape from everything else....
Lazy summer days are for lounging and breaking out of your normal routine. Don’t stray so far from your conversations that you forget how to talk to people in person or start avoiding all small talk.
Make it a point to have small conversations throughout the week. You might be surprised at how much enjoyment it adds to your day and how easy it is when you’re prepared with sports conversations starters like these:
There’s value in being in a space where you can watch someone work. Learn from their example. But there’s additional value in having conversations through that process.
This is a leadership reminder from Kristin Scheelar, associate winemaker at Columbia Winery: “Create an environment where interns don’t feel insecure about asking elementary questions.”
The first step in that process is encouraging and inviting interns to ask questions, but if you want them to take advantage of those opportunities it’s helpful to go one step further.
Simply saying, “I’m here if you have any questions” sounds open and encouraging until you consider saying something like:
“I love talking about _____. If you have any questions around ____ please come find me because that’s my jam.”
That is a very specific message. There’s no confusion surrounding what an intern should ask you about. The phrasing not only encourages...
It’s the easiest sports(ish) conversation starter of the year: How many hot dogs could you eat?
In case you’ve forgotten (and how could you?) July 4th is the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. Competitors have 10 minutes to eat as many hot dogs and buns as they can. Joey Chestnut is the world’s No.1- ranked eater. He topped his own record last year by consuming 76 hot dogs and buns. Miki Sudo is the top-ranked female eater in the world and set the women’s record of 48.5 hot dogs and buns in 2020.
Probably more than you’d like to know about competitive eating, but it can be a fun conversation starter with family and friends of all ages. Especially if you throw in questions like these:
Have some fun debates during your holiday...
Just like I can’t tell you how to be a fan. I can’t tell you how to be a frustrated or disappointed fan. I CAN tell you when fandom crosses the line into bullying and jerk-ish behavior. As a sports broadcaster who has covered several losing teams and teams that haven’t lived up to expectations, I have a lot of experience watching frustrated fans react.
I know you want to think that what happens at a ballpark, stadium or arena stays there and that you as a fan are different than you as a person who shows up for work every day, but that’s not how it works. You are the same person. Your fandom is part of your personal brand. It’s easy for emotions to take over and for frustrations to turn into personal attacks, name calling, bullying and even harassment. I’ve not only seen it all, I’ve been on the receiving end of all of it. I’ve also been a fan for as long as I can remember, so I know frustrating it can get.
Instead of going off...
Welcome to sports conversation starters designed to meet you where you’re at with your schedule, knowledge base, comfort level and interest level this week.
Sporting events don’t always fit into busy schedules. If you’ve only got time for the highlights and high level talking points this list is for you.
Each week I pick a handful of topics I’m confident will get the most coverage so you’ll be growing your sports knowledge base and getting useful nuggets for small talk. So dive in, take a chance and Talk Sporty this week.
Habits can be tough to break, especially when there’s no obvious need to change what you’ve grown comfortable doing. Take standard small talk and conversation norms. It’s polite and even expected that the question “How are you?” is part of a standard greeting. No one questions this approach to a conversation, but nearly everyone falls prey to the awkward silence that follows. You know how this goes:
“Hey, good to see you! How are you?”
“I’m good! How are you?”
The awkward silence generally comes next in the conversation has always been there, but my guess is you had an easier time recovering and filling the void before the pandemic. At least, that’s been my experience. Two years ago, I didn’t have to try so hard to figure out what came next in the conversation and as someone who got “talks too much” on every single report card, I didn’t expect short...
"We should stop apologizing to each other."
I laughed when a colleague said that yesterday. We were probably a half dozen apologies into a conversation in which we were cutting each other off or not hearing correctly. It would have been really awkward if we weren't already friends with rapport. We agreed to stop apologizing... and then proceeded to say "I'm sorry" at least two more times, mostly out of habit.
It takes work and intentionality to break out of any kind of habit including what we say in conversations. If you have a habit of ignoring small talk or not preparing for small talk, here's your chance to change that. This list of sports conversation starters gives you topics that will spark conversation, built rapport and help you make connections.