Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
The freedom and options that come from working from home highlight the benefits of the current business environment.
The downside? There’s less contact, connection and interaction with managers and that can make it difficult to clear up misunderstands and maintain positive relationships.
For example, you can’t walk past their office to see if it’s good time to talk, and there are no organic social interactions in a hallway or elevator that might smooth over what felt like a brusque email or exchange. Plus, a lack of physical cues makes it harder, if not impossible, to gauge reactions and read the room.
Building, maintaining and growing those relationships comes down to clear, concise communication. These five conversation strategies will help.
Distinguish information from “bad news.” Resist...
I feel like I’ve said this a lot in the past week, but it’s worth another reminder – the Super Bowl is a great conversation starter, even if you’re not a football fan and even if you didn’t actually watch the game.
Millions of people around the world tuned in to watch Tampa Bay beat Kansas City and they probably made special game day food, have an opinion on the commercials, musical performances and even a thought on what it would be like to travel to Tampa or anywhere else in the world right now.
The football hype will die down this week, but not without giving you a chance to maintain or build business relationships. If the Super Bowl isn’t your favorite topic there are plenty of other topics making sports headlines this week.
By this point you know the drill. Every Monday you can find a list of sports conversation starters right here. These sports conversation starters are more than sports talk. They’re a way to engage in intentional small talk with follow up opportunities that can help you build business relationships.
So let’s get right to it. Here are a list of sports topics making news this week.
I never thought of confidence as a skill. I assumed it was something you acquired with age, wisdom and experience. I believed that confidence was something you needed to earn either by virtue of personal accomplishments or because of a status you obtained.
I didn't know how wrong I was about all of those ideas until talking with high-performance psychologist Michael Gervais during a Learn from a Leader interview.
"Confidence comes from one place and one place only. It's what you say to yourself."
Confidence isn't something that just happens. It's cultivated. It's also a skill leaders need to develop. The confidence you have in yourself directly impacts how you lead others.
Take a look at the short clip from Michael's interview for more perspective. Register for the next Learn from a Leader session to get access to the entire library of interviews.
As an extrovert and a professional communicator, virtual interactions feel incomplete. I’m not able to read the room or body language the same way and the conversations don’t flow the same way.
That’s not the only thing that’s missing. It’s also the timing, frequency and spontaneity of conversations in general.
When there’s no chance of bumping into your colleague, getting in the elevator with your manager or gauging the mood of your team on a Monday morning you’re left wondering what’s going on. That uncertainty creates anxiety and paranoia when working from home.
Did your manager not respond to an email because she’s been in back-to-back meetings or because she didn’t like your idea? Are your colleagues avoiding you because you’re falling out of favor or...
Effective leaders know who they’re leading. Not just the names of the people reporting to them, but the actual people.
That’s a challenge in any environment because there will always be people who keep things close to the vest, others harbor a distrust of management or leadership, still others aren’t effective communicators putting great onus on leaders to draw out information needed to build good relationships.
The current work from home environment adds another layer to that relationship building process and highlights the importance of Asking Better Questions.
If you want to be a thought leader who affects change and innovation you need to upgrade the questions you’re already asking in order to guide conversations that resonate with the people you lead.
Here are a few more...
It's just as important to prepare for the conversations you're not going to have as the ones you plan to have this week.
Maybe you're not going to gossip with a friend, or perhaps you're going to resist the urge to overshare or make assumptions without getting the facts. Maybe you're not going to criticize the way your spouse folds laundry. Whatever conversation you're not having this week, plan for it. Practice what you're going to say instead. Don't leave it to chance that you'll be able to do it on the fly and in the moment.
And if you're looking for something to say, these sports conversation starters should help.
I’ll be honest my Monday is a little less happy following the Seahawks loss Saturday. My schedule changes dramatically this week and so will the interactions I’ve had every morning with the “Swab squad” at the Seahawks facility.
I’ve been part of daily COVID testing for weeks as part of NFL protocols. It takes less than two minutes to get my paperwork, take my temperature and get swabbed every morning and that’s more than enough time to say “Hi,” and build relationships with all the medical professionals in the testing trailer.
Which brings me to this… you have relationships with the people you see on a regular basis, regardless of the amount of time you spend around them. Whether you are intentional about building and cultivating those relationships is up to you.
These sports conversation starters can help you make the most of small talk this week so you can cultivate relationships just a couple minutes at a time.
Everything starts over in January. The year, your earnings statements, health care benefits, and often your resolve at making big improvements. It makes sense. A brand new calendar, not just a new page in the calendar, feels like a clean slate and a very definitive time to commit to new habits, goals and resolutions.
Except it might not be right the right time for you.
It certainly isn’t for the Seahawks players I cover. There’s time for resolutions, new habits and goals in the offseason, but not now.
After 20 years in locker rooms as a sports broadcaster and sideline reporter I’ve learned not to make New Year’s resolutions because the most successful people I know (the athletes I cover) don’t for two very good reasons.
I don’t know if you need the encouragement yet, but good luck with those resolutions!
And I’d suggest adding one more item to your 2021 goals: Find ways to show up.
“Showing up” looks different these days. You might not be showing up in person. It might happen in an email, newsletter, text, or logging into your virtual meetings 5-10 minutes early to chat with other folks who also logged in early. Whatever option you choose, commit to consistency. Show up so you’re part of the conversation when it happens. Top of mind when an opportunity arises and available for serendipitous interactions.
Part of showing up is having something to say and being able to skillfully engage in small talk. These sports conversation starters can help with that and you can also download the Talk Sporty 2021 Sports Calendar for a look at the sports year in a glance.