Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
"How are you?"
In "normal" times it's the appropriate thing to say when starting a conversation and part of the script we follow by default.
These days, that question is asked with sincerity and best intentions, but I'm willing to wager the answers fall short of expectations.
"How are you?" is the equivalent of me, a sports broadcaster, striking up a conversation with a player by saying, "Tell me about the game." I fully expect the athlete to look at me, shrug and then say, "What part of the game do you want me to tell you about? The beginning, the middle, the end, the role I played, the effort of my teammates, the adjustments we made because of the opponent?"
(If he or she doesn't do that, they're being far too polite, because that is a terribly unprepared way for a reporter to start a conversation with an athlete.)
What happens if you don't have any answers as a leader?
What happens if there's no playbook that outlines the next right steps?
What do you if you find yourself leading during a crisis?
Many leaders are grappling with those questions right now as they deal with the uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic. Everything seems to be uncertain. Everyone seems to be making best-guess decisions while filtering through the latest information.
When crisis strikes, leaders lead. It doesn't matter if there's a playbook or if they have the answers. The best thing they can do is understand their response helps shape the reaction of their team.
The response of a leader helps shape the reaction of their team.
It's a lesson Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner has learned during his career and one that applies for every leader in times of crisis and uncertainty.
Like the kind that happen when you bump into a colleague in the hallway, or the chit chat that takes place in an elevator.
Stay at home and work from home orders have changed the way we operate and the way we think about daily activities and interactions.
In many cases physical distancing has actually increased social connections because we’re all becoming more intentional about reaching out for those conversations and interactions.
Continue reaching out. Find things to talk about. Use sports as a connection point with fans and use these sports #ConvoStarters this week.
“The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” George Bernard Shaw
I couldn’t say it any better George.
I know exactly what he’s talking about. You probably do to. There’s also a good chance you’re starting to feel the strain or tension around communicating with remote teams – especially if this is a new dynamic for you or your team.
We get caught in a push-pull. Wanting to make sure we stay in communication leads to sending more emails, lengthier memos and scheduling more meetings. We start believing more words or more interactions lead to better communication. In reality it’s ensuring we are overwhelmed by emails and meeting requests and creating the illusion communication has been accomplished.
As businesses, managers and employees across the country adjust to a new work dynamic here are few things to keep in mind.
Life without live sporting events doesn’t mean we don’t have sports to talk about. There are still stories making headlines and an opportunity to take a break from other, more serious, conversation topics.
We’ll keep providing a list of sports conversation starters as long as there is something happening in the world of sports.
In addition, we’ve created an online training Communicating with Remote Teams. It’s a 30-minute webinar designed to help you communicate more effectively while working remote. The session takes place Wednesday, March 25th at 7:30am PT. Get more details and register here.
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.