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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 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.
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.
"How’s the weather?"
Anyone living in the Seattle area the last month would tell you it’s rained. A lot. Nearly every single day. Which means if the weather is your go-to topic for small talk you’d be talking about rain. A lot. And having dead end conversations.
Pick a topic that gives you real opportunities to connect, like sports. You can use these topics this week.
Happy Monday! Although depending on who you were cheering for in the Super Bowl (and how long that party lasted) you might be feeling anything but happy.
I totally get it.
Here’s what else I get. Whether you liked the outcome of the game. Agreed with the play calling. Placed bets on who won the coin toss or have already wagered on next year’s odds – the Super Bowl is a huge conversation starter this week.
It’s a sports story, human interest story, entertainment and business news all in one event. If you’re not talking about it, you’re probably missing out on huge opportunities to build relationships… or you’re talking about the other sports topics making news this week.
Sports is more than sports.
Tragic events like the death of Kobe Bryant remind us of that.
Former teammates weren’t reacting to the points he scored. Fans weren't thinking about the championships he’d won or the All-Star games he participated in. They were thinking about and reacting to what Kobe, the man, meant to them.
Sports is powerful. It connects fans across the world.
It’s a useful tool in connecting with people, including the ones you work with.
If you're starting your week with a holiday then it will likely take a little extra time to get back in the swing of things this week. Any time you change your schedule it can cause you to feel out of sorts - like me all weekend.
It was the first time all season I watched football without a vested interest in who won. (I’m an NFL sideline reporter with the Seahawks and usually working weekends.) I was just watching the games and the commercials – there are a lot of commercials. (There are no commercials in stadium, and I spend every time out working to hear what the coaches are saying.)
Here’s the point – there’s plenty of time to talk while watching games. There’s also a case to be made for not watching games, since it can feel like a large waste of time. It’s one of the reasons I post this list every week.
To make sports conversations useful in business, you need to be able to see past the stats and scores. Certainly, the outcomes of games can be conversation starters, but there’s more to talk about and relate to when watching games.
For example, you could:
Of course there’s always using these sports conversation starters to give fans a platform to talk, share and connect this week.