Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
Sports fans once again made television history by watching Kansas City defeat Buffalo in the divisional playoff game.
More than 50 million people tuned into the game making it the most-watched divisional playoff game in NFL history and the first divisional playoff game to top 50 million viewers.
Kansas City won the game and advanced to the AFC Championship game for a sixth straight year, but two of the biggest storylines and talking points among fans had nothing to do with stats from the game.
Last week I read an article about journaling and loved the idea of this journal prompt: What story-worthy experience happened yesterday?
Essentially it’s a different way of asking, “Did you do anything interesting yesterday?”
As a journal prompt it’s a great question. As a conversation starter it’s probably a non-starter. So is every other weirdo, off the wall, out of left field question. Catching people off guard in small talk doesn’t lead to conversation. It leads to confusion and an awkward interaction.
Here’s what I recommend -ask a question you know they’ll have an immediate answer to. Something like “Did you watch the playoff games?” “Did you see who won the golf tournament?”
Even if the answer is “No” the follow up is much easier than trying to redirect a conversation that was sidetracked before it got started – especially if you brush up on these sports topics making news this...
You’ve set goals.
You’re targeting professional milestones.
You’ve crafted a plan for success.
Does it include ways to be more visible at work with your managers and even your colleagues?
Your work and the effort you put in at work are only part of being successful. Increasing your visibility directly impacts your compensation and opportunities to advance your career.
Letting your work speak for itself leaves a lot of room for interpretation and quite honestly results in a lot of missed opportunities every single day.
Standing out at work doesn’t require you to take on more work. It’s not about being the first one to the office and the last one to leave (or log off.) It doesn’t mean you have to brag about everything you’re working on.
Your visibility at work comes down to - being strategic and intentional in your interactions. Here are three tangible ways you can stand out every day:
1. Do what you say...
I have seen and experienced all range of emotions in the last week as both a sports fan and someone who works in sports.
The passion I’ve seen is a great reminder as to why sports small talk can be a powerful way to connect. Fans care about sports. This isn’t the weather. It’s not just something to fill the time between getting off work and going to bed. Sports fans are invested. When you tap into that passion you’re not just talking about sports. You’re learning about what interests, drives and motivates the people around you and that’s critical for communication, leading and being productive at work.
Don’t overlook small talk as a way to connect especially when you use these sports topics this week.
Having a front row seat to the winningest coach in Seahawks history was something I never took for granted. I also never expected to learn so much about leadership and communication.
I’ve been the Seahawks radio sideline reporter for the last 15 seasons. I talked to Pete regularly for pregame interviews, during press conferences and when we bumped into each other at the facility. I can attest to the fact his energy never waned. What you saw on TV was exactly what we saw every day. After watching him throughout his tenure these are the five leadership lessons that stand out for me.
Leadership can be fun. If you were to ask Pete Carroll he would say football should be fun and he regularly told his players that if it wasn’t fun he was doing it wrong. It’s one of the reasons he blared music at practice and held free throw shooting competitions during team meetings. Pete proved to me that “fun-loving” could be and should be on the list of great leadership...
Whether you created goals, resolutions or intentions for 2024 I’m willing to bet that meeting them and following through on them require communication skills. Success doesn’t happen in a vacuum and your talent and want-to are part of the equation, so are your communication skills.
So with that in mind use small talk to build the skills you need for bigger conversations. Be intentional with how you approach small talk and what you want to get out of interactions because all of it can help you reach your goals/resolutions/intentions this year.
These sports conversation starters can get the ball rolling this week.
Records were made to be broken and every streak comes to an end.
Last week was the first time in more than decade I didn’t post a version of conversation starters. It was somewhat of a last minute decision and an opportunity I’d been looking for.
I pride myself on consistency, but I wanted a little bit of a break and I wanted to alleviate the pressure of keeping a streak alive.
Here’s something to consider as we start the new year focused on new habits, goal-setting and creating new opportunities - the streaks you stop are just as important as the ones you start.
And here are few sports topics you can consider in small talk this week.
You’ve got enough going on this week. No need to create more work for yourself, and that includes in your conversations. A few conversation starters will make small talk easier and more productive. If you’re stuck coming up with a few, these sports topics can help.
Every week when you glance at these sports conversation starters the nuts and bolts of the game or the story probably stand out. That’s on purpose. I want you to have enough information to join a conversation and build your knowledge base.
You could also look for the business connections and ways to springboard into larger conversations. This week I would point to the Heisman voting and Heisman award winner as a way to talk about the criteria you use to judge success or maybe the note about the MLS Champions as a way to start a conversation about the talent you need to get to the next level.
Sports is more than stats and scores – if you want it to be. And you can use these sports conversation starters however you want this week.
MVP discussions in sports often turn into debates because there are different schools of thought on how those awards should be determined. The outcome depends on which criteria you use and which school of thought you follow. Which is also true when it comes to performance reviews and goal setting for 2024.
Make sure your team is on the same page and knows the criteria you're using. If you haven't been specific or need to have that conversation again this sports conversation can help you start the discussion. It's just one way to use sports to think outside the box score and improve business communication.