Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
You can’t gain more confidence without practice.
As Nike taught us a long time ago – just do it.
It doesn’t get easier to strike up conversations with strangers, or initiate a sports conversation, or lead a meeting or attend a networking event unless you just do it.
Find small ways to step out of your comfort zone, like committing to a quick 30-second small talk exchange. These sports conversation starters can help with what to say.
When push comes to shove it could be tempting to quit, but that's not a choice for the athletes I work with. Professional athlete don't just leave the field during the middle of a game. They don't throw in the towel at halftime and decide not to play the second half. They don't quit.
That's not to say it's easy, but here's where athletes have the advantage: they've failed a lot. They've lost games, they've missed shots, they've had bad games, and they've bounced back. That's resiliency and tenacity.
Tenacity in sports looks different than in business, but it requires the same mindset. Elaina Morris Herber is a former collegiate soccer player and the President and CEO of Ascend Hospitality Group.
There’s nothing wrong with focusing on the outcome of a game. It’s what most fans talk about which make scores, or at least noting a win/loss, helpful in small talk.
But there are other takeaways from games including communication and leadership lessons. I’ve outlined at least five ways you can level up your leadership skillswhile watching sports and coming up Wednesday you can join the conversation with former MLS player Roger Levesque at 10am PST. Use this link to register for free.
And of course you can use this list of sports conversation starters all week long.
The pressure new sports fans put on themselves is immense. From thinking they need an answer to every question or believing they should know more facts or data, new and novice sports fans expect more of themselves than most fans do.
It comes down to confidence.
Here’s what I mean, if you’re a long-time Seahawks fan who’s been busy at work the last couple days and haven’t had time to read about the latest roster move or read comments from Pete Carroll you don’t stop yourself from joining a football conversation and you don’t think you’re less of a fan. You think, and know, you’re a busy fan with more than your hobby vying for your attention.
New and novice fans, often lack the confidence to enter the conversation with that recognition and mindset. They more harshly judge their lack of knowledge or time spent on sports than anyone. And they don’t realize that all they need to do is define their area of expertise.
Fans in stadiums have led to the highest NFL ratings in six years. That’s based on numbers through the first four weeks of the regular season. Games have drawn an average of 17.4 million viewers. Not every one of them is a hard-core fan. Not every one has been a life long fan. There are varying levels of fans but their interest in football gives you a great starting point in small talk.
There are a couple NFL headlines listed in this week’s list of sports conversation starters and if football isn’t your thing there are other sports making news too.
Leadership is process of discovery. Discovering how to be more effective, authentic, vulnerable. How to be more of your whole self and find your voice.
Great leaders have confidence in their ability to communicate, and do it well. Access the full Learn from a Leader library and the upcoming conversation on October 20 at 10am PT with former professional soccer player Roger Levesque using this link.
Sports headlines are great for building your sports knowledge base and starting conversation, but what happens when you get asked to dive deeper or get asked to weigh in on a topic, game or player you’re not familiar with? Then what do you do?
I get this question all the time. I know it causes a lot of anxiety, but there is a pretty simple way to solve this problem.
First, don’t panic. Resist the urge to just walk away from the conversation.
Second, recognize it’s not your job to have answers to every sports question. (Sports is my job, but it’s your hobby.)
Third, redirect a conversation that starts with “Did you see…” using the words, “No, but…”
“Did you see the game last night?” “No, but what happened?”
“Did you see what the Seahawks are doing?” “No, but do you have any insight?”
You don’t have to have the answers, you just need a way to keep the...
There’s a thought among some long-time fans that bandwagon fans aren’t “real” fans. Wrong. They’re just showing a different level and interest in sports.
If you are jumping on board and getting excited about something like the baseball playoffs don’t feel pressure to contribute to a sports conversation that’s over your head.
We all have to start somewhere. You aren’t a fraud or a faker because you know the final score of a game, but you don’t know advanced statistics and sabermetrics. You might be a novice fan but you’re still a fan and you still belong in the conversations. Take on the role of being an active listener instead of driving the interaction.
Use these conversation starters to get people around you talking.
Everything changes, including your decisions. The “right“ decision might change based on new circumstances. That’s why it’s far more important to focus on the process you used to make decisions, as opposed to the decision itself.
Case in point, this interview was taped at the beginning of the pandemic with very little was known about anything. We are still talking about making decisions in the face of uncertainty.
Thanks to Steve Singh of at Madrona Venture group for sharing these insights during a Learn from a Leader session. You can register for the next live session with former professional soccer player Roger Levesque at 10am on October 20th.
Not all conversation starters are useful or even appropriate for small talk.
I follow a few news outlets and newsletters that offer conversation starters that are definitely topics you should know about, but not practical for quick conversations at work. They’re also potential hot button issues. Just because you should know about a topic doesn’t mean you should be talking about it in casual conversations with colleagues and coworkers.
When choosing your conversation starters make sure you consider how much time you have for the conversation, who you’re talking to and where the conversation is taking place (i.e., in an elevator vs. over lunch.)
Sports small talk fits the bill every time. It’s why I continue to offer a list of weekly sports conversation starters like these.