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I'M ONE TO TALK

Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.

Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

People have different opinions, life experiences, points of view, desired outcomes, reactions and ways of dealing with things.

We see that playing out in different ways around the country.

It takes practice and intentionality to not just talk through differences, but to hear them. 

Practice starts in day-to-day interactions, that involve less stress and less incendiary topics. Practice starts with your small talk and it can start with a sports conversation. Sports fans disagree all the time about unimportant things like a manager’s decision to pinch-hit in the 8th inning,  a play-call on third down, a lead driver pitting with two laps to go in a NASCAR race.

Sports is more than stats and scores. It can be a way to practice listening and disagreeing so that you’re prepared to do that in bigger moments when there are more important things to talk about.

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Camera Ready: A Broadcaster's Advice for Virtual Presentations

My ability to talk is a bit of a family joke and was well-documented by teachers who noted on every single report card that I had a tendency to “talk too much.”

Everyone agreed a job in sports broadcasting seemed like the perfect fit for me, but no one in my family believed me when I said I was exhausted after talking all day.

After all, what was so different about getting paid to do something I did naturally?

 Here’s the difference: the camera.

Being on camera requires a different level of focus, energy and planning.

It’s part of the reason you’re Zoom’ed out, frustrated by having to dial into yet another meeting that seems like even more of a waste of time than usual and more exhausted by the end of the day despite not leaving the house. Certainly, the stress and uncertainty of during this pandemic are part of that dynamic but you should also acknowledge the stress of being on camera. 

Virtual meetings, happy hours and interactions...

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Learn from a Leader: High School Student Athletes on Leadership in Uncertainty

Outcomes determine winners.

In sports, it's the final score or the fastest time that indicates a win. But what happens in the absence of outcomes, during a time of uncertainty? 

Winning looks different. 

For high school seniors unable to finish out their sports careers, winning can't be defined by games, races or matches. "Winning" becomes about their leadership skills in a time of uncertainty, their willingness to continue showing up for teammates and their  ability to show gratitude for coaches, teachers and parents. 

I recently spoke to a group of high school seniors from Bellevue Christian School to learn how they've been affected by COVID-19 and how it's helped them develop leadership skills. 

Each one talked about the sports lesson they've leaned into during a time of uncertainty and serves as reminder that sports is more than outcomes. It's an opportunity to lead and provides a blueprint for overcoming challenges and challenging times. 

Key...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

Welcome to a holiday Monday!

Although given the current state of work from home schedules, I’m not sure what a holiday weekend means these days. 

Usually I’d remind you these sports conversation starters are great for get-togethers with family and friends. That seems like an unlikely way to spend Memorial Day this year, so I’ll just say these are still interesting talking points for small talk in any conversations you’re having this week, even the ones you might be having with yourself two months into quarantine (Amiright?)

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Communicating With Remote Teams: Apply Best Intent Approach

Working remotely doesn't just change our work environment, it changes our memory of what it's like to work with someone. It's easier to question someone's ability or talent if you're not seeing that play out in front of you. 

It's one of the reasons getting face time with team members and managers was important prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Work from home policies change those dynamics and it can change the attitude we have toward our team members.  

 

Distrust in virtual settings is a gradual shift that starts showing up in the way we send emails or start meetings.

Something like, "No pressure, but I'm expecting that report done in a couple days." or "I expect everyone to be on the call tomorrow, no excuses." On the surface those comments are an example of how to clearly communicate with your team. 

But imagine that email or statement coming out of the blue, without any other context.  There's a tinge of distrust and hostility that comes through. An...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

Soccer returned in Germany. NASCAR returned in the United States. A few PGA players returned to the course. Sports leagues continue to discuss plans that would allow them to resume play.

It won’t be what fans are used to experiencing, but it will be live sporting events. It could also lead to emotional conversations.

Friendly reminder: When using sports in small talk with colleagues, stay away from politics and other hot-button issues.

Yes, I know there’s an option to go down that path. And you and I both know that if you do that you won’t be furthering a relationship, you could be ending one. You don’t have to like the people you work with, but you do need to find a way to work well with them. It’s your job. Don’t make it any harder by picking fights.

With that in mind, here are a few sports topics you can use in small talk this week.

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Effective Communication vs. Over-Communicating

You know what you mean when you tell your team they need to over-communicate, but what happens when they do what you say?

How much time do you want to spend having longer conversations, sorting through more emails, wading through extraneous details to get to the point?

I know virtual environments and changing workplace landscapes have lots of people thinking over-communication is important to keep everyone informed, on the same page and in the loop.

The truth is, effective communication does all of those things, not over-communication.

It’s the difference between landing your message and diluting your message. Being efficient with your time versus spending way too much time dealing with interactions that amount to busywork.

As leaders be clear with your communication expectations. If you want your team to send a daily email with a five bullet points on what they accomplished that day, tell them that. If you want people to check in with you weekly say that. If you expect an...

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Sports Conversation Starters For Your Workweek

NASCAR returns to live racing this week for the first time in more than two months. You don’t have to be a racing fan to appreciate the return of live sporting events.

Sports won’t look the same as they did before the COVID-19 crisis, but fans will still have a desire to connect and talk about races, games, athletes and events.

It’s one reason to stay up to speed on sports topics making headlines. They’ll come in handy when connecting with sports-loving colleagues and making small talk.

Here are a few to keep you in the know.

 

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Communicating in Times of Certainty - Reminders from the NFL Draft

This week the NFL will releasing the entire 2020 schedule with the expectation the full season will be played and will start on time. Of course, there are contingencies in place if the COVID-19 crisis forces changes, but for right now fans can start looking ahead, getting excited for rivalry weekends and anticipating the debut of a new class of rookies.

Without even taking the field, the 2020 NFL Draft class has been part of NFL history by being the first (and perhaps only) class to be selected during an entirely virtual draft.

As the sideline reporter for the Seattle Seahawks and the founder of Talk Sporty to Me, I look for business parallels in the sporting events and press conferences I cover.

Talk Sporty to Me isn’t about clichés and metaphors, it’s about making sports fandom useful in business, relationship building and communication.

With that in mind, here are five quick takeaways from my experience as part of the Seahawks draft coverage and broadcast team...

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Stop Comparing Virtual Meetings to Face-to-Face Interactions

Stop comparing virtual interactions to real-life, in-person conversations. They’re not the same thing.

Video conferencing, virtual happy hours and online training might be the next best thing to meeting in person, but they are not the same thing. There’s a big difference and big problem with making that assertion. Insisting video conferencing is “just like” face-to-face interactions discredits the feelings of exhaustion and fatigue that accompany virtual interactions. 

If you go into the day thinking you’re going to have a conversation instead of preparing to be on camera, you’re setting yourself up for burn out, fatigue, exhaustion and frustration. 

Take it from someone who’s been on camera and on TV for the last 14 years. I’m a sports broadcaster based out of Seattle. My colleagues and I can tell you from personal experience being on camera every day can be emotionally and mentally draining.

Communicating in a virtual...

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