Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
I never thought I'd write a weekly blog about sports conversation starters without a single sports event on the calendar, or while social distancing is forcing most people to work from home.
Working remotely, suspending sports seasons, canceling the NCAA Tournament and delaying the start of the baseball season became necessary to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.
So why am I still talking about sports? Because sports fandom doesn't stop just because sports seasons on are hold.
There are still ways to include sports in your weekly conversations. You can read five ways to do that in the full blog.
In addition, small talk doesn't just take place in person. It will still take place before your video conference meetings, when you email colleagues throughout the day and when you text friends to see how they're passing the time at home.
With that in mind, and knowing there's new information seemingly every hour, here are a few sports conversation starters for you to...
A week ago I was preparing to write an article about using sports conversations to maintain connections while offices started working remotely and “social distancing” was in the initial stages in Washington. As the week progressed the article changed. I started thinking about what sports looked like without fans, and how that could change conversations.
It became clear those social distancing measures weren’t going to be enough when the NBA and NHL suspended their seasons, so I made new notes about following sports other than the "Big 4" to get your sports fix.
Then the sports calendar emptied. Sports came to a complete stop.
The health and safety of everyone involved made it a necessary step. So, this week there are no games, outcomes or upcoming events to talk about. The storylines are pretty narrow and limited.
So why am I still talking about sports? It’s simple.
The hottest news topic isn’t always the one you want to talk about, even when it seems like that’s ALL anyone is talking about.
The coronavirus dominates our conversations as much as the headlines right now. While it can be helpful to talk through the latest information and comforting to know other people share the same feelings or concerns, engaging in that conversation over and over can also lead to anxiety and increased levels of stress and worry.
Stop having a stressful conversation on repeat by changing your approach to small talk.
If you would rather talk about something else, alter your approach to small talk. Try these three adjustments in the conversations you’re already having both remotely and in-person.
Dial in open-ended questions. You can’t count on anyone else to change the subject so control the direction of the conversation from the outset by asking a more targeted questions. Using “How are you?” or...
The topic dominating headlines isn’t always the best conversation starter.
I mean, how much more do you really want to talk about the coronavirus (And how much more should we say other than, “Please wash your hands.”)
Even with the uncertainty around some sporting events sports makes a great connection point. Look for a new blog post within the next 24 hours on how to direct conversations in more productive directions. For now, use these sports topics whether you’re talking face-to-face or via email.
The person who coined the phrase, “there’s no such thing as a stupid question” was either flat-out lying or unaware of all the stupid questions he/she was asking.
I know from experience there are plenty of stupid, bad, lazy and unproductive questions – all of which lead to a lot of eye-rolling, but that’s not the worst part, neither is the sounding stupid part. The worst part is the wasted time. That’s what you should be worried about.
It takes longer to get the answers you need to figure out the real issue, identify solutions and inspire action when you’re asking bad questions.
And just so we’re clear – if you are following the advice of most so-called “experts” you’re probably asking these types of questions.
All opportunities come through people.
It’s something I heard an NFL Agent tell a group of conference attendees at the NFL Combine during the weekend.
Technology, social media, and AI are changing the way we work and communicate, but at the end of the day it’s about people.
Small talk is the first step in that process. It’s one of the reasons I make sure you’re not without something to say every week. Here are a few sports topics to use this week.
More isn’t better. Longer conversations don’t lead to better communication. Additional information doesn’t lead to better understanding.
I was guilty of that this week.
My editor and I met to discuss the plan for editing the 32 interviews I completed during my 10 days in Spring Training. It’s a conversation we’ve had every year for the last 10 years and something we’d been talking about for the last month. I thought we were on the same page. I expected a quick, easy conversation and was floored and frustrated when he suddenly had objections.
I couldn’t figure out what changed and why we suddenly felt like adversaries instead of colleagues and friends who can practically read each other’s minds because we’ve worked together for so many years.
And then I saw it. The look on his face and the stack of papers in his hand.
We lost power for two hours Sunday. It wasn’t a big deal, or even much of an inconvenience … although it did delay baking my blueberry coffee cake by a couple hours… I still walked through the house flipping on light switches out of habit. It was quite ridiculous when the power came back on along with every single light in the house.
We engage in the same activities, talk to the same people and go through the motion of interacting with others. It’s like flipping the light switches even when the power is out.
Make it a point to switch things up this week. Talk to someone different. Break out of your daily routine – or shift it around a little bit. And use a different conversation starter, like any of those listed on this week’s list of #ConvoStarters.
Stay interested to be interesting.
A friend reminded me of that phrase at dinner the other night.
For her it meant listening to different podcasts recommended by colleagues so she would understand their interests. It might be the same for you, or it could be looking at sports headlines or taking an interest in a sport you don’t typically follow. Whatever you choose just remember conversations aren’t just about you.
If you are not interesting enough to talk to don’t be surprised if no one wants to talk to you. That might save you time initially but won’t help with those relationships you need to get stuff done.
So go ahead, be interesting and use these sports #ConvoStarters this week.
Sports fans inherently know the importance of storytelling. Unless they’re the type who look at the score or the outcome… and nothing else. No highlights. No recaps. No interviews. No social media. No conversations with other fans.
And let’s face, that’s not the way fans consume information.
It’s also not the way you or your colleagues consume information. Even data driven people with a thirst for stats know there’s a story behind the numbers that influences or affects decisions.
Storytelling is hugely important for conveying messages, providing context and influencing people – things all leaders should do.
But there’s a catch.
Storytelling is subjective.
Yet it’s universally accepted the most influential and effective leaders are great storytellers. It’s a requirement that seemingly comes with a moving target unless you start...