Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
You’ve wrapped up the conversation. You’re done. You’re ready to move on. But you can’t because you haven’t said goodbye. Or maybe you have… to every single person on the virtual call, and a dozen goodbyes later you’re still talking and trying to end the meeting.
You think back to the good ol’ days when you could just stand up and leave the room or announce that you needed to get back to your desk. Then you sigh and wonder how much longer the goodbyes will last and how much more awkward things will get.
I get it.
As a sports reporter who does live post-game interviews I’ve dealt with this dynamic for about 15 years. I don’t have to tell you the most awkward part of saying goodbye is having to do it a second time.
I know from personal experience you can’t just end an interview or a conversation with “Goodbye and thank you...
The freedom and options that come from working from home highlight the benefits of the current business environment.
The downside? There’s less contact, connection and interaction with managers and that can make it difficult to clear up misunderstands and maintain positive relationships.
For example, you can’t walk past their office to see if it’s good time to talk, and there are no organic social interactions in a hallway or elevator that might smooth over what felt like a brusque email or exchange. Plus, a lack of physical cues makes it harder, if not impossible, to gauge reactions and read the room.
Building, maintaining and growing those relationships comes down to clear, concise communication. These five conversation strategies will help.
Distinguish information from “bad news.” Resist...
Effective leaders know who they’re leading. Not just the names of the people reporting to them, but the actual people.
That’s a challenge in any environment because there will always be people who keep things close to the vest, others harbor a distrust of management or leadership, still others aren’t effective communicators putting great onus on leaders to draw out information needed to build good relationships.
The current work from home environment adds another layer to that relationship building process and highlights the importance of Asking Better Questions.
If you want to be a thought leader who affects change and innovation you need to upgrade the questions you’re already asking in order to guide conversations that resonate with the people you lead.
Here are a few more...
Everything starts over in January. The year, your earnings statements, health care benefits, and often your resolve at making big improvements. It makes sense. A brand new calendar, not just a new page in the calendar, feels like a clean slate and a very definitive time to commit to new habits, goals and resolutions.
Except it might not be right the right time for you.
It certainly isn’t for the Seahawks players I cover. There’s time for resolutions, new habits and goals in the offseason, but not now.
After 20 years in locker rooms as a sports broadcaster and sideline reporter I’ve learned not to make New Year’s resolutions because the most successful people I know (the athletes I cover) don’t for two very good reasons.
Happy New Year! I bet you have big plans for 2021, but do you have a way to share those plans? What about the accomplishment you’re most proud of from 2020? Do you have a way to communicate that?
If you don’t, it’s time to revisit Success Statements a topic I’ve written, posted and talked about for several years. A Success Statement is a strategic answer to the question, “How are you?”
I bet most of the time your answer would be, “Fine.” “Good.” Or maybe even, “Great!” There’s nothing wrong with any of those responses, but if that’s all you say, it’s a missed opportunity if that’s all you say.
The answer to that question directs the rest of the conversation – however long or short the interaction is. It’s your chance to highlight the fact that you’re excited to tackle a new project, or that you’re working on a stretch goal, building a new habit or proud of...
Surely it's something you've realized in the current work from home environment. Logging into meetings doesn't mean you're paying attention. In fact, I bet you've figured how out to multi-task even when you're required to turn your camera on.
Don't take your audience for granted and assume they're paying attention just because they're in attendance. Even when your audience (i.e. your team, manager, or clients) is motivated to listen it's easy to get distracted in a virtual environment. Make it easier to focus by delivering in your message in a compelling way.
Intentional pauses. Stop yourself from talking too much by adding pacing mechanisms to your presentations. That includes intentional pauses, full stops for audience engagement and varying the tempo at which you deliver the content. Pacing mechanisms allow your audience to catch up and process what you’re...
Happy holiday week! With any luck you’ll have fewer reasons to log onto virtual meetings this week, but that doesn’t mean your conversations should stop all together. In fact, this is a great week to focus on more personal interactions that are outside the scope of business conversations.
Here are a few options for starting those conversations:
“Good morning! What are you most looking forward to today?”
“Your name came up in a conversation last week and it reminded me to reach out.”
“I’m watching __(insert show here)__ right now and the __ (character)__ reminds me of you.”
Or you can use these sports topics.
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.
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.)
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.