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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.

The Lesson Every Leader Can Learn from a Locker Room

 

I’m glad Simone Biles captured the attention of the world and shined a light on the importance of mental health. She helped spark conversation around the immense pressure athletes are under to perform and the stress that goes along with being the best in the world.

I’m encouraged fans were forced to look beyond Biles’ impressive personal accomplishments and see her as a human being.

I only wish every fan could accompany me into a locker room so you never forget athletes are people and we’re all human.

It’s a message I heard a decade before I set foot in a professional locker room when I wrote a letter to a local sportscaster I adored in Houston. I told her how much I loved sports and how I thought it was so cool she got to talk to athletes. I was surprised when Lisa Malosky took the time to write back. She encouraged me to pursue a career in sports before I even knew it was possible. She agreed the job was cool but she included these words I’m...

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Talking to People in Person: Commit to 30 Seconds

You can do anything for 30 seconds.

It’s a favorite saying for fitness instructors and personal trainers everywhere.

That encouragement always seems to come right before telling you to do something you don’t want to do or don’t think you can do. Then, after 30 seconds of more burpees than you really wanted to do, you’re done.

In other words: You can get more done in 30 seconds than you think, and it will be over before you know it.

It’s true in your workouts and when it comes to talking to people in person. If, after more than a year of working from home, you dread the thought of small talk and having conversations in real life then reframe what a conversation actually is. 

 

A conversation doesn’t have to measured in minutes or hours. It can be measured in seconds. Especially in the context of small talk, casually bumping into someone in an elevator, seeing a colleague in person for the first time, the conversation with the waiter at...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

People follow people not plans.

Sports fans connect with personalities not stats. It’s an athlete’s willingness to show who they are that creates that connection. Their game-day actions and results are only part of that equation. Their personality really comes through in interviews and 1-on-1 interactions with fans. 

If you only “stick to business” and think small talk is a waste of time, you’re missing opportunities to connect and probably don’t have the relationships or rapport you think you do.

You can use small talk to connect, share personal stories (not your entire life story) and build relationships. Sports is a great topic to utilize in small talk. Here are a few topics that would work this week.

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

Much like your own personal accomplishments, sports accomplishments can vary. For example, Joey Chestnut broke his own world record Sunday at the Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating contest by eating 76 hot dogs (and buns) in 10 minutes. Just typing that sentence makes me feel queasy, but I would probably jump at the chance to join a pie eating contest.

As silly as it is, that hot dog eating contest makes for great small talk this week along with these more serious sports headlines.

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

There’s no one way to be a sports fan. You can be a casual fan, novice fan, hard-core fan or social fan.

Don’t count yourself out of conversations because you don’t think you watch enough sports. Don’t refrain from starting a sports conversation because you’re talking to a novice fan.

Be the type of fan you want to be. Use these sports conversation starters to get the ball rolling.

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Talking to People in Person: Start with Hello

I don’t think about myself as working in a male dominated environment. Which sounds odd coming from someone who’s spent 20 years inside sports locker rooms as a sideline reporter and sports broadcaster.

I get lots of questions about what it’s like in a locker room. Here’s what I see: Talented and skilled people who want to excel and succeed at a high level. People who can deliver in pressure situations because of the hours they spend training and preparing.

There are two things you should recognize about what I just described:

  1. I could just as easily have been describing the people you work with. The job descriptions are different but the drive and desire to win can be the same. (Although your office probably smells better and has less laundry on the floor.)
  2. This is not a group of people that has time to waste in their day. Athletes regularly put in 10 to 12-hour days and sit through more meetings than you might realize.

When I take these things into...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

You don’t have to watch a game to talk about the outcome. Just like you don’t have see a TV show to know what it’s about. And you don’t need to follow an actor’s entire career to enjoy a little celebrity gossip (if that’s your thing.)

Here’s what you do need: enough information and confidence to have a conversation.

Whether you’re skimming the latest version of People magazine (which I actually did while on vacation this weekend) or glancing through these sports conversation starters. Don’t discount how much you don’t know without realize that you probably know more than enough to make small talk for 30-60 seconds, and that’s all it takes.

Here’s something else to consider: the process is the same for building your knowledge base whether you’re talking about sports, music, entertainment, bitcoin, etc…

  1. Start small with a headline or two.
  2. Keep the conversations short.
  3. Have an exit strategy.

...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

With so many sporting events happening over the weekend this is the perfect chance to sit back and let sports fans take the lead in small talk this week.

We’re not just talking “Big 4” sports (football, basketball, baseball and hockey.) Tennis, soccer, racing, horse racing and golf are in the headlines this week. And don’t forget about little league, softball and other youth sports taking place right now. A lot of things fall under the sports umbrella. Think bigger when you start the conversation and let the sports fan you’re talk to run with it. 

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How to Talk to People in Person

 

In-person conversations are making a comeback and chances are you’re a little rusty at those interactions after a year of working from home and virtual gatherings. People are finding that what worked before the pandemic like asking “What’s new?” or “How are you?” isn’t effective. And to be honest, it wasn’t a good approach to begin with.

People are finding it’s harder to start a conversation and keep it going than before the pandemic. Three conversation strategies can dramatically increase the quality of those interactions and reduce the stress of trying to figure out what to say.

Introductions need context. Your name isn’t enough. Your job description or title isn’t interesting. Tell people why you’re having the conversation in the first place.

Prepare an answer for “How are you?” You know you’re going to get the question. What you might not realize is your answer unlocks the potential of the...

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Learn from a Leader: Own the Arena

Here’s a TV pro tip for making your eyes and your entire face look less tired – wear a dark or brightly colored shade of lipstick. The pop of color draws attention away from your eyes (and the dark circles or bags underneath them) and helps off-set a lack of sleep.

I’ve done this many times and I can tell you from personal experience it’s a small thing that makes a big difference, not only in what the audience sees, but in how I see myself that day.   

Showing up is half the battle as that quote goes, but as an on-air personality the way I show up counts. As a leader it’s not enough to show up. The way you show up is part of your brand and the message you communicate to others.

It’s up to you to own your space, or as former professional tennis player and past USTA president Katrina Adams would say “Own the Arena.” She joined the Learn from a Leader series to talk about her new book and the many leadership lessons she learned...

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