Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
Sports fandom looks different to different people. Some fans memorize stats and are glued to the TV during games. Others take a more casual approach, enjoying the social aspect of watching games with others and taking in game day traditions and rituals.
There’s no one way to be a sports fan. Don’t listen to the die-hards who claim they’re the only “real” fans in the building. On the flip side, give yourself credit for being a fan. You don’t need to make excuses for not watching more sports and you don’t need to apologize for only following the local team.
Here’s a breakdown of how we at Talk Sporty to Me categorize sports fans.
Being aware of sports fan profiles can help you stay in your lane in a conversation. I realize that phrase can have a negative...
Do it because you can, not because you want to.
I heard a fitness instructor say that this week and it’s exactly how I feel when I’m coaching people on how to talk sports and engage in small talk.
The conversation you think doesn’t matter actually opens the door for bigger conversations of greater substance. I can’t think of any athlete I’ve interviewed (and I’ve talked to hundreds of them) that I haven’t made small talk with at some point before starting the interview – even if it was just 15 seconds of introducing myself before going on live TV.
You might not want to take time out of your day for small talk, but do it because you can and because it makes a difference in the long run.
Use this list of sports topics to start small talk conversations this week. If this list seems like a lot, then focus on the only question you need to be able to answer: “Who’s your team?”
It’s a frequently asked question among sports fans and it’s a good starting point for every new or novice sports fan. There is no right or wrong answer to the question, but you do need an answer if only for your own sanity as you build your sports knowledge base.
Identifying one team - your team - makes it easier to become a fan and follow relevant headlines. For example, keeping track of all 32 NFL teams is time consuming and confusing if you’re just getting started as compared to paying attention to just one team.
Your choice of teams is entirely up to you, but you might want to consider your objective before you commit.
Your team your choice,...
If you want people to clearly communicate with you, start practicing it yourself. Sound intimidating? Not if you start with sports.
Here’s an example of being direct: Did you watch the Seahawks pre-season game Saturday?
It’s clear and direct. You know exactly what you’re being asked and what your response will be.
Direct and clear does not mean rude. It might mean you need to practice in low stress situations like small talk. This list of sports conversation starters can help with those interactions.
You can be a sports fan for lots of different reasons. It doesn’t have to be because you played sports in high school or because you’ve always been a fan or because your entire family cheers for the Chicago Bears.
You could be a sports fan because it’s a way to connect with will colleagues, it’s a topic your kids will talk about, because you love tailgating or because you think the athletes look good in their uniforms.
There are three things to remember:
Preseason football doesn’t generally excite fans. The games mean we’re getting close to the start of the regular season but the outcomes of preseason games don’t mean much.
Here’s what should excite non-football fans – it’s a great time to start following football. If you read a couple headlines a week (or go one step further and read one headline a day) you’ll be able to follow more conversations and maybe even jump into a football conversation when the regular season starts. As with just about anything, it’s easier to start at the beginning rather than trying to jump in midstream.
Use this time to your advantage and use these sports conversation starters to help spark small talk of all kinds this week.
If you equate sports small talk to sports metaphors you’re missing the point and a valuable opportunity to connect with colleagues. Sports metaphors and cliches are mostly overused, often misused and do very little to further a conversation or make a point.
Intentional sports small talk is a different story. These conversation starters give you the chance to learn more about your colleagues and create follow-up opportunities. (Think: checking in with a baseball-loving colleague Friday to get their thoughts on the Field of Dreams game that happens on Thursday.)
Any of these topics can spark conversations this week.
If there’s one universal takeaway from the Olympics over the last week – it’s that sports isn’t just about the outcomes. Sports can be used to tackle much bigger conversations, like mental health. Simone Biles is a tremendous athlete, the best in the world at what she does. And she is human just like you and just like me.
Sports at its core is about coming together as human beings and being part of a community, whether you are a community of athletes or a community of fans. You can use sports to be rude, divisive, and controversial or you can use sports to bring people together.
I hope you will choose the latter and use these sports conversation starters to build relationships in small talk this week.
Friendly reminder – people want to be heard. They want to know their opinion counts and that what they say matters. It’s one of the biggest reasons anyone posts on social media. You might not agree with what anyone is saying on social media, but you can’t deny the fact that people want to be heard.
Give at least two people that opportunity this week. Start a conversation with the intent of truly hearing what the person has to say.
I probably don’t need to tell you to choose your conversation starter wisely. Small talk should be used to build relationships, not destroy them. The thing someone is ranting about on social media probably isn’t a good place to start. A neutral sports topic is a much better option. Here are a few headlines you can use this week.
You can do anything for 30 seconds.
It’s a favorite saying for fitness instructors and personal trainers everywhere.
That encouragement always seems to come right before telling you to do something you don’t want to do or don’t think you can do. Then, after 30 seconds of more burpees than you really wanted to do, you’re done.
In other words: You can get more done in 30 seconds than you think, and it will be over before you know it.
It’s true in your workouts and when it comes to talking to people in person. If, after more than a year of working from home, you dread the thought of small talk and having conversations in real life then reframe what a conversation actually is.
A conversation doesn’t have to measured in minutes or hours. It can be measured in seconds. Especially in the context of small talk, casually bumping into someone in an elevator, seeing a colleague in person for the first time, the conversation with the waiter at...