Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
The news headlines just keep coming. Thankfully so do the sports headlines. There are times they overlap (i.e. positive COVID-19 tests in the NFL), but there are just as many opportunities to focus on the game, outcome, matchups, big performances, individual efforts, coaching decisions, standings, etc….
Sports can be an outlet, escape and a conversation starter that works in small talk this week.
I'm afraid my conversations the last few weeks have lacked words of kindness. It’s not that I was rude, I just found myself holding back and withholding words of encouragement, kindness and support out of my own frustrations, insecurities and stress.
Whatever the reasons, words of kindness go a long way in building a relationship. Being kind shows up in a lot of different ways, including showing an interest in what your colleagues want to talk about – even if it’s not a particular interest of yours.
Sports small talk can open the door to building relationships and words of kindness. Here are a few #ConvoStarters you can use this week.
Conversations rarely have all or nothing results, particularly when we’re talking about small talk.
Each exchange gets you a little closer to building a relationship, or communicating a little better, or opening the lines of communication.
Re-setting the expectations for each conversation can help you see short conversations as productive ones. Those interactions can be about sports and these #ConvoStarters can get the ball rolling.
It’s not just the start of another week, it’s the first work week with NFL games to talk about since February.
I’m not just pointing that out because I’m the sideline reporter for the Seahawks. I make mention of it because the NFL is the most popular sports league in the United States. Football fans are dying to talk about their favorite team, favorite player, coaching decisions and game outcomes. This works to your advantage in two ways:
The sports schedule provides built-in opportunities to stay on the radar and continue building relationships, so do these sports Conversation Starters for the week.
Labor Day isn’t just a holiday for most people it’s also the unofficial end of summer, it traditionally marks the start of school, and it’s the point in time wearing white or seersucker becomes a faux pax. (If you’re into that sort of fashion advice.)
Here’s what else today can do – get you set up for productive small talk the rest of the week. I know your brain is already going in a million different directions. Trying to think of something interesting (or coherent) can be a challenge, especially if you leave it up to chance during small talk. So, don’t. Brush up on these sports headlines and make it easier to think on your feet the rest of the week.
I was about 13 when I wrote a letter to my favorite sportscaster in Houston. I told her how much I loved the work she did and how I thought it would be so cool to talk to players. Much to my surprise, she responded. She was gracious and encouraging of my interest in sports broadcasting but it’s these words that made the greatest impression, “Athlete are people too.”
It was a little puzzling to hear that as a teenager, but it’s a phrase, a statement and a truth that has driven every interaction I’ve had with athletes for 20 years. It’s easy to see athletes as superheroes or super-human based on their talents and abilities, but at the end of the day they’re people.
I’ve heard from plenty of sports fans who want athletes to “stick to sports.” That would be like me telling you to “stick to your job, because what do you know about sports?”
You don’t have to agree with what athletes say. You probably don’t...
Here’s a conversation starter and a challenge… What can you say outside of “good” when responding to the question, “How are you?”
There are literally dozens of words that are more interesting and convey a more genuine emotion than “good.” In addition, your response to “How are you?” directs and guides the conversation.
So, this week challenge yourself to respond with something better than “good.” Ask others about words they’d use in place of “good” and then throw in one of these sports conversation starters.
“I’ve got better things to do than watch sports.”
It’s feedback I’ve received from a few anti-sports fans in the last couple weeks.
I get it. Watching hours of sports isn’t for everyone (especially if it’s not your job.)
But here’s what those folks aren’t getting – it’s not about the time you spend watching sports, it’s the space you create for others to talk sports that makes sports talk valuable at work.
The sports outcomes aren’t as important as the outcomes you create in building relationships.
And you already know brushing up on your sports knowledge doesn’t require hours in front of the TV, you’ve got this weekly cheat sheet to help out.
Better communication skills are at a premium right now. Communicating remotely requires more clarity than talking to people in person. You’re not going to get the big stuff right (i.e. hash out differences, get on the same page with a project, communicate the correct timeline or actions) if you don’t get the smaller stuff right – like building relationships using small talk.
Don’t skip the small talk this week. Don’t blow it off as a waste of time. It’s practice for bigger conversation and it’s a way to build relationships so you know how to communicate with clarity to each person you work with.
Small talk, like every other conversation these days, can feel like a challenge.
Maybe it’s hard for you to talk, or hear someone talking, while wearing a mask. Maybe it’s because every topic has the potential to become politicized.
I know that small talk can build relationships, but I also know sometimes you just need to take a break and avoid extra interactions.
Even if you don’t plan to use these topics in small talk, read through them to build your sports knowledge base.