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

Planning for 2021: Advice for Entreprenuers

Watching Seahawks practice is part of job, and something I look forward to throughout the season. It’s not as glamorous as watching a game but it does give me some insight – as long as I’m not watching the ball.

It’s a habit I developed when I was high school football official. If you watch the ball as an official you’ll miss what’s really going on.

As I stood at practice this week contemplating the Seahawks upcoming game and my own business planning and goals for 2021 I realized that was one of a few lessons from my time as an official that I still use as an entrepreneur and a broadcaster. Here are three officiating fundamentals I’ve inadvertently incorporated into how I make decisions and set goals for the upcoming year.  

Planning for 2021: Advice for Entrepreneurs 

  1. Stop moving to see clearly. If everything is moving or in flux you can’t possibly get an accurate read on what’s going on. As an official it’s not...
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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

I quote National Lampoons Christmas Vacation way too much this time of year. I mean, how could you resist a classic exchange like this:

“Why is the carpet all wet Todd?”

“I don’t KNOW Margo.”

Quoting Christmas movies over and over again is acceptable. Having the same conversation over and over is boring. Even if you mean well by asking, “How are you?” You’re potentially setting up the same basic response, “Good! How are you?” and a boring exchange that doesn’t get you very far in a conversation. 

Make sure you have a way to break out the norm. Don’t quote the same opening conversation lines. Use these sports topics in small talk this week (if you get tired of quoting Christmas movies, that is.)

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Learn from a Leader Bonus Interview + Giveaway

It doesn’t matter who I talk to these days NFL athletes, venture capitalists, C-suite executives, my grandma or my best friend, the topic of mental health frequently comes up in conversations. It sounds different for everyone but most often it’s a question like “How are you handling things?”

It highlights the fact that all of us are dealing with feelings of stress, anxiety, loneliness, insecurity and fear. We’re all human.

Years ago I wrote a letter to Lisa Malosky, a sports broadcaster in Houston, professing my admiration for her work and my desire to become a sports broadcaster. I told her that I loved sports and I thought it would be so cool to talk to the athletes themselves. Her hand-written response included these words, “Athletes are people too.”

Twenty years into my sports broadcasting career I know exactly what she meant. I understand the role of empathy in seeing the human side of all people, whether I’m talking to athletes,...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

What do you bring to conversations? Joy? Optimism? Thoughtfulness? Pessimism? Anger? 

Maybe you haven't stopped to think about it, but your conversation skills are as much a part of your personal brand as anything else. Make sure you're sending the message and convey the values you intend in every conversation. 

You can start with these sports conversation starters. 

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Nov 30, 2020

The text read “32 days, 8 hours, 43 minutes until 2021.”

One of my broadcast partners posted it in a group chat yesterday reinforcing there’s a definite desire to just get through this year. 

If it feels like you’re just getting by or if what’s next seems like a long way off, reach out to someone and chat. You can start the conversation by using one of these techniques or use these sports conversation starters to open the lines of communication and promote the back-and-forth that strengthens relationships.

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Nov 23, 2020

Thanksgiving traditions, like everything else in 2020, will look a little different.

Here’s what stays the same – football and a chance to connect. 

Football is as much of a Thanksgiving tradition as turkey, but the conversations don’t have to be about the game. You could place friendly wagers on guessing the next commercial that comes on TV or the next cutaway shot (camera that’s focused on something other than play or the field of play.) You could use the game as a springboard into conversations about high school glory days, trips you’ve taken to cities involving the games, or even things you’d rather talk about other than sports and football.

Whatever it is, use sports to connect virtually and in person this week.

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Learn from a Leader: Communication and Negotiation

Effective communicators and negotiators know their point of view isn't the only one to consider in a conversation.

It's important to communicate your value, message, solution, strategy, etc... but if you haven't considered how that fits with the objective and point of view of the other person(s) in the conversation you're talking, not communicating. 

Sports agent Kelli Masters explained how this factors into negotiating contracts for the athletes she represents. You don't need to work in sports for this message to resonate. 

If you don't consider or recognize other points of view during a conversation you're less likely to be effective in your communication tactics, as Kelli explains in the video. 

Kelli is a trailblazer in sports and she is now an author. Her first book is available for pre-order High-Impact Life: A Sports Agent's Secrets to Finding and Fulfilling a Purpose You Can't Lose. I've already ordered mine!

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Nov 16, 2020

Every athlete and coach will tell you consistency is key. It’s consistently showing up, putting in the work, performing and communicating.

Consistency pays off when building relationships too. Keep showing up in small talk and use these sports conversation starters to get started.

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Learn from a Leader: Sacred Selfishness

Self care is a popular term, but what if you take it a step further and practice "sacred selfishness?" Leaders need to place high value on taking care of themselves so they can lead others. 

And according to Jonni Ressler, CEO of Eleven 11 Solutions, it's one of the best habits you can develop as a leader.

For me, I’m selfish with the first 60-90 minutes of my day. I use that time to workout, journal, read have a cup of coffee and review my to-do list for the day. It’s the only quiet time I’m guaranteed to get every day so I make the most of it. 
 
What does sacred selfishness mean for you? 
 
Jonni joined the Learn from a Leader series earlier this year. Get access to the full interview and entire library of interviews by joining the series
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5 Ways to Disagree Like An Adult

I originally posted this blog three years ago when it felt like “hot takes” were all the rage on TV. No one wanted to listen, and everyone wanted to yell.

Things haven’t changed all that much, but they should because listening is a leadership skill, as is controlling your emotions, showing empathy and knowing how to disagree like an adult.

I understand there’s a lot going on in the world. The stress and uncertainty can be overwhelming. Emotions are running high.

Great leaders don’t allow their emotions to make an already emotional situation more difficult.

Conflict happens in conversations. Disagreements happen and differing opinions exist. So does a better way of handling those situations.

I talk for a living. I actually talk sports for a living. But more importantly I talk to human beings for a living. After nearly two decades in sports, I’m well-practiced at asking questions, assessing the environment and engaging in conversations. I...

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