Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
Sports is entertainment. I get that. I'm a sports broadcaster and a fan. I see the fun side of sports every day, but I also see all the different ways sports helps us make better decisions in our own professional lives.
For example, dealing with outcomes that aren't fair. It sucks. It sucks when you run into bad luck. You know who experiences that more often than you do? Athletes.
When you watch sports you are watching professional development in real time. Athletes are professionals. They're building their skillset right in front of you and one of those skillsets is dealing with bad luck and outcomes that aren't fair.
Here are the two things I see athletes do most often in those situations:
1. Acknowledge it sucks. Be honest with your feelings. They definitely commiserate with each other in the locker room or clubhouse.
2. Evaluate their effort. It won't change the outcome, but when an athlete has done everything they can to prepare and execute in that moment...
I forgot how awesome it is to be a fan.
That might sound weird, but cheering is not only discouraged it’s not allowed where I sit or stand for games. I am doing a job. Emotion isn’t part of that. But twice in the last three days, I was able to be a fan. I attended WNBA Seattle Storm games. I cheered, yelled and remembered how good it felt to do all those things.
Sometimes sports fans want to talk to their feelings sometimes they just want to yell. I encourage you to embrace all of the emotions and the conversations that sports bring your way this week. Here are a few conversation starters to get things going.
Giving false praise leads to confusion, fall out, and challenges in giving feedback.
Every time you say "Great job!" when what you should have said was "Thank you for getting the job done" you set yourself up to fail in future conversations.
Those are the hard hitting facts right out of the gate, but I'm willing to bet most of us default to saying "Great job!" throughout the day, but do you mean it? Was it really a great job? Did that person go above and beyond? Or did they do the job they were hired to do?
I could keep writing words to describe what I'm talking about, but I think it would be more helpful to watch the video because sports gives us a very clear picture of what accurate praise and feedback sounds like.
Let me just reiterate that you don't do anyone any favors by giving false praise.
I remember a well-meaning stadium employee who was...
I initially deleted the Google alert and then sorted through the trash bin to recover a short writeup of the Mariners win against the NY Yankees Wednesday night at T-Mobile park. The game went to extra innings. Catcher Cal Raleigh drove in the game-winning run and then joined me for the postgame interview. And here is how it was described:
“A subdued Cal Raleigh joined ROOT Sports Northwest’s Jen Mueller afterward, deflecting credit and talking about Seattle’s pitching in the win…”
I don’t know that subdued is the word I would use. He didn’t show the same level of emotion as the fans in the building, but there were contributing factors.
He’s an introvert who just got doused with two ice cold Gatorade buckets full of water (which is a shock to the system.) In that particular interview there was such awful and extreme audio feedback in the stadium it was difficult to hear and concentrate.
People aren’t always going to react the...
You know what a sports fan, athlete or coach will never say? "That was a bad win."
Never. You will never ever hear them say that. Why? Because a win is a win. You don't put an asterisk next to it. You don't make excuses. You accept the win.
So why don't YOU do that at work? Instead of thinking of this phrase as a sports cliche, look at it as an opportunity for self-reflection and bigger conversations at work.
As I mentioned in the video there are certain ways we want to show up in business that reflect our brand and our values. I'm not suggesting you win at all costs. I do want you to be better about acknowledging and taking responsibility for your success. Here are three easy ways to do that.
1. Find attainable wins. If everything is a stretch goal, a monumental task or something that requires max effort it's really tough to stack wins. Here's an example of an attainable win, saying hello and hearing it in response. I do this all the time...
Have you ever found yourself trapped in a conversation you didn’t care about? Me too!
Just last week I was part of a conversation that didn’t interest me because it was the only conversation topic available. Don’t make the same mistake I did, be prepared to bring something to the conversation. These sports topics could work this week.
This weekly list of sports conversation starters isn’t just to spark sports small talk, it’s to provide a springboard to talk about whatever you’d like.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Pick one of the topics listed, let’s say Brooks Koepka winning the PGA Championship.
Step 2: Include a second possible conversation topic along with your sports note.
It might sound like this:
“I saw Brooks Koepka won the PGA Championship. I didn’t spend a lot of time watching because we spent most of the weekend looking at houses. Did you watch much of it?”
Sports started the conversation and gave you a way to casually introduce something else you were interested in talking about.
It’s one more way to use sports to your advantage in conversations. Here are topics you can use this week.
437. Wait. Make that 439. That’s the number of emails in my inbox. Four of those are unread. Most of them need to be deleted. As much as I would love to one of those people who get to zero by the end of the day or the week, I’m just not.
In general, I’m on top of email communication and responses, but just like everyone else there are emails that get lost in my inbox. (Which is now up to 442 emails and seven unread messages.) I like getting people the information they need and hate the feeling that I have unfinished business to address.
In my perfect world I would respond to every email within 24 hours. Nothing makes me happier than when I can give a prompt, almost immediate response to a note that landed in my inbox. The reality of my world is that I am often checking emails in a dugout between interviews, in a press box between innings, standing in line getting coffee or in my car between meetings. Not exactly the ideal environment for typing out lengthy...
It’s really hard to concentrate when the sun is out in Seattle.
I know it’s a sentiment shared by most of us here after extended stretches of clouds and cooler (or just plain cold) spring weather. I find myself either staring out the window at the sun or rushing through my work so I can go out and enjoy the sun.
It’s a seasonal thing here in Seattle but it might describe every Monday morning for you and that’s where these sports conversation starters come in.
They’re written with you in mind as a busy professional who on occasion has a short attention span. There are no deep dives, just a snapshot of what’s happening around sports.
And here’s the thing… you don’t even have to read them for these conversation starters to be effective. True story. Just knowing which topics other fans will be talking about this week can help in conversations.
With that in mind here are a few headlines making news this week.
Anything can happen on live TV. Usually it doesn’t. Things go (relatively) smoothly most of the time. When it doesn’t I think back to how my mentor viewed tough shows: “That’s the great thing about doing four shows a night. I always have a chance to end on a high note.”
It’s a valuable lesson to learn in broadcasting but it applies to conversations too. Not every interaction is going to go as planned. Anything can happen. Most of the time it doesn’t, but if you don’t like the way one conversation goes you can always turn the page, have the next convo and end on a high note.
There are a number of different ways to get back on track, if you need an extra conversation starter or two these can help.