Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
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.
All opportunities come through people.
It’s something I heard an NFL Agent tell a group of conference attendees at the NFL Combine during the weekend.
Technology, social media, and AI are changing the way we work and communicate, but at the end of the day it’s about people.
Small talk is the first step in that process. It’s one of the reasons I make sure you’re not without something to say every week. Here are a few sports topics to use this week.
More isn’t better. Longer conversations don’t lead to better communication. Additional information doesn’t lead to better understanding.
I was guilty of that this week.
My editor and I met to discuss the plan for editing the 32 interviews I completed during my 10 days in Spring Training. It’s a conversation we’ve had every year for the last 10 years and something we’d been talking about for the last month. I thought we were on the same page. I expected a quick, easy conversation and was floored and frustrated when he suddenly had objections.
I couldn’t figure out what changed and why we suddenly felt like adversaries instead of colleagues and friends who can practically read each other’s minds because we’ve worked together for so many years.
And then I saw it. The look on his face and the stack of papers in his hand.
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.
Sports fans inherently know the importance of storytelling. Unless they’re the type who look at the score or the outcome… and nothing else. No highlights. No recaps. No interviews. No social media. No conversations with other fans.
And let’s face, that’s not the way fans consume information.
It’s also not the way you or your colleagues consume information. Even data driven people with a thirst for stats know there’s a story behind the numbers that influences or affects decisions.
Storytelling is hugely important for conveying messages, providing context and influencing people – things all leaders should do.
But there’s a catch.
Storytelling is subjective.
Yet it’s universally accepted the most influential and effective leaders are great storytellers. It’s a requirement that seemingly comes with a moving target unless you start...
"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.
Leaders never stop learning.
I’ve always looked at the scholastic or philosophical side of that statement more than the technical or the tactical.
Reading articles, books, or studying the habits of other leaders is what came to mind most often, and then I was forced to learn a new website platform.
I’ve spent countless hours over the last three weeks trying to figure out how to use all the features, adapt what I had been doing to what’s now available and cursing under my breath in frustration because it just shouldn’t be that difficult.
It’s called learning.
And I don’t have as much patience for it as I thought.
The whole experience reminded me that I can read all the articles I want and study other leaders but unless I put myself in position to practice a new skill it won’t actually be something I learn....
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.
Projections, plans, implementation strategies are all necessary and important for informing the people you lead, but don’t overlook the importance of providing insight on who they’re following.
That doesn’t happen by handing out your resume or talking about past success. It happens when you tell your story.
I’ll admit I’m not great at this. I’ve never felt it was important or even necessary to tell my story. What’s the point of hearing me ramble when you have your own stories and experiences to draw from?
And then after talking to a number of female leaders I realized I was looking at this the wrong way. Telling my story isn’t about me. It’s about giving others context for their stories and experiences. In other words, it’s a way of showing people they’re not alone.
Great leaders aren’t afraid to pull back the curtain and share personal stories.
And yet selling is sometimes...