Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
"What's the No. 1 thing I can do to have a better conversation?" The podcast host asked me. "What do you think I'm missing out on?"
It was a great question.
I don't think he was expecting the answer I gave or how practical it is: Give a better answer to the question, "How are you?"
He looked at me, a little confused. Then we started playing out the conversation and here's what happens:
"How are you?"
"I'm good! How are you?"
And then? Silence. An awkward pause. A clunky transition. A game of 20-questions. Any and all of these possibilities contribute to a desire to end the interaction as quickly as possible.
Here's what most people don't realize: Your response to "How are you?" is a critical moment in a conversation.
It's the moment you get to introduce topics you want to talk about. Your response directs the conversation. Answering with "Fine." "Good" or even "Living the dream." isn't a response most people can follow up on.
Your answer to "How...
Everyone could use a good conversation starter these days because, “Have you gotten your shot?” and “Which shot did you get?” is a terrible way to start a conversation. And asking, “What’s new?” a year into a pandemic where most people haven’t done anything is a non-starter.
You know what works as a conversation starter every single time? Sports.
There are new things to talk about every day and even non-sports fans will give you an answer that can spark a productive and enjoyable exchange. With that in mind, start talking and use these sports topics to get the conversation going.
Even if you don’t plan to go back into an office surely you’re planning to socialize in person because there are only so many virtual happy hours any of us can take.
When those in-person interactions happen there won’t be an option to turn a camera on or off. You won’t have the benefit of a chat function where you can type a quick “Hello!” to show you’re contributing to the conversation. You’re going to need to show up and start a conversation all on your own.
Which is why it’s a good idea to brush up on the conversation skills you need for those in-person interactions because we’ve been communicating in an entirely different way for more than a year. The thought of striking up a conversation out of the blue and possibly with someone you don’t know can be overwhelming right now. Even extroverts...
Most of us aren’t looking for additional drama in our lives, but in our conversations… that can be a different story. We don’t mind talking about dramatic stories, finishes, outcomes and people. It makes conversations interesting.
The NCAA Tournament has provided plenty of drama in the last few days. Have you seen the highlights of those finishes? Wow!
They make for great conversation starters this week along with these sports topics.
A short conversation can still be a productive one.
There’s no “qualifying time” that guarantees a conversation has been a good one.
A quality exchange can be 15 seconds or it could be an hour or anything in between. These sports conversations are perfect for short conversations (15–30 seconds) or for starting longer conversations. You choose and you can make it productive.
As we think about connecting in real life again, resuming networking habits, or maybe refining that podcast you started in the last year. Remember this: Curiosity doesn’t replace preparation.
Curiosity alone doesn’t lead to a great conversation or even a productive one if you didn’t take the time to get curious before the conversation started.
Spend a few minutes to consider things like:
How do you know this person? Are you familiar with them or do you need to do a little research?
What’s happened in the time since last talking to them? Think about what could have happened in their industry, with their job or in the world in general so you can bring empathy, understanding and perspective to the conversation.
What are you hoping to get out of the conversation? Identify the objective before you start talking so you know where the conversation needs to go.
What needs to happen for it to be a successful conversation? Drill down and get a little more specific on...
Busted bracket? Yeah, me too – along with just about everyone else who assumed the top men’s seeds would advance to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament.
You know what a busted bracket says? I was wrong. Or, if you have a hard time fully admitting to that statement, it says you didn’t guess right or didn’t make the right choice.
In the context of picking winning basketball teams it matters very little. In a bigger business context there is value in be able to graciously admit when you are wrong.
Use sports conversations to practice the skill you’ll need in much bigger and more important conversations at work. These topics can can get the conversations started.
The Big Dance starts this week which means a lot of people will be talking about the NCAA Tournament and their brackets. Even novice and non-fans get caught up in the action and excitement of choosing winners in the NCAA Tournament. If you need a few ideas for how to fill out your bracket, I provided five options in a recent blog post.
If you'd like additional sports topics to talk about this week, I've got you covered there too.
You’re going to hear this question a lot in the next few days because it’s the start of the NCAA Tournament. Basketball fans love seeing the matchups and filling out a bracket that predicts the winners. It’s not just hoops fans filling out brackets, it seems like everyone does it from the 3-year-old who picks according to color to the novice fan who makes selections based on mascots.
That’s the beauty of filling out a bracket. It’s not an exact science. As much as college basketball analysts would like you to believe this is something they have expertise in, the truth is – it’s a crapshoot. The higher ranked team doesn’t always win. Every year there are upsets. And every year it’s the source of a lot of conversations at work, which is exactly why you need to fill out a bracket.
It’s not an exercise in being perfect. (In fact, of the...
After a week spent visiting family in warm, sunny weather I returned to Seattle… and to rain and 40-degree temperatures. It’s like that a lot here. Ask me about the weather and I’ll probably tell you it’s raining. The weather is not a great conversation starter. It rarely goes anywhere interesting it often results in a one- or two-word answer. For people who have spent most of the last year inside the weather sometimes isn’t even relevant.
For small talk that leads to productive conversations and better follow up opportunities try sports and these sports conversation starters.