Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
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.
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...
When you’re emotionally connected you take action. It’s true in relationships, politics and social issues. It also shows up at work in the form of employee engagement. Doing good work might always be a driving force, but the motivation to continue doing good work comes from the connection you have with your colleagues, managers and leaders.
That’s where vulnerability comes in. When you drop your guard, people understand who you are, not just the plan you’re following or the work you’re doing.
It’s one thing to say you’re willing to be vulnerable and it’s another to get comfortable sitting in those moments where you’re really not sure how people will react.
There’s a way to practice this and get better at showing vulnerability - ask a question you don’t know the answer to. Like, really don’t know the answer to. The uncertainty in the seconds between that type of question and the answer is...
I’m here if you need me.
You know you can reach out anytime.
Let me know how I can help.
We’ve all said things like this with the very best intentions and we’ve heard our friends, colleagues and business contacts say the same thing back to us.
And yet, when we actually could use a little help we’re hesitant to reach out partly because it’s a vulnerable ask especially if the help we need is pulling ourselves out of a funk or getting past strong emotions during a pandemic.
How do you even start the conversation when you’re already overwhelmed, sad or frustrated. You’d like to know you’re not alone without feeling rejected if you don’t get a response. You certainly don’t want to impose on someone and add to their stress levels.
Here are ways to initiate a conversation when you need help, support or just a quick pick-me-up.
Revisit a previous experience/conversation. ...
There are a number of conversation skills that impact your ability to be an effective communicator.
Controlling your emotions is one of those skills.
You can be convicted, passionate and well-intentioned but if you can’t control your emotions while conveying those sentiments the message you’re trying to convey will get lost in the emotion you display.
I realize emotions get the best of us sometimes and sometimes you just need to vent and get something off your chest. I also know that whatever you communicate most consistently will shape the perception people have of you and what it’s like to work with you.
For example, If you’re an unbearable jerk after your football team loses, you’re not going to be able to convince colleagues that won’t be your response to a poor outcome at work.
That’s the easy example. Sports always is.
Which is why sports small talk is a good place to practice the conversation skills you need in bigger moments...
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.
I intended to write this in January 2020. That’s when I originally gathered the interviews inside the Seahawks locker room. Had the Hawks won one more playoff game it would have happened.
I had talked to a handful of players about how they handle self-doubt. My plan was to write something I could go back to when I needed a confidence boost. I procrastinated. The pandemic hit. I lost my mojo. Their insights became even more relevant and valuable, but I couldn’t find the inspiration to write. (Insert palm to forehead emoji here.)
In an effort to get something done I took a look at the stack of papers on my desk (purely to move them to a different stack) and realized the formula for getting back on track and regaining my mojo had been there since January.
I work with NFL athletes. During a “normal” season I spend a lot of time in locker rooms. It’s the most testosterone driven environment you can imagine. What you can’t imagine is that every single...
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 talk for a living. Most often, I'm talking to athletes as part of my job.
Those conversations look a lot different these days.
There's no face-to-face interactions, no hugs as we welcome each other back for a new season. There are no casual conversations at their lockers while I make my rounds through the locker room.
All media availability is done through video conferencing and most of my personal interactions are limited to waving or shouting "Hello!" across a football field. Those distanced interactions are better than nothing and important during the current state of a pandemic, but I also feel sad and left out.
Face-to-face conversations are one of the ways I stay connected with athletes, and all the people I work with. I can still do my job, but I wonder about the value I can provide without the same type of interactions. There's a loneliness and tension that's creeped in as a result.
I'm not the only one who feels this way. I'm not the only one who's...
My Ten Percent Happier meditation app asked that question every day for a week. Each day I clicked “Next time” because it just seemed like a hassle, like something that would take too much time, like something I didn’t want to deal with.
When I finally chose “Update Now?” it took less than 60 seconds and the app functioned better.
It got me thinking about other “Update now?” scenarios I have intentionally chosen to deal with “Next time.” My attitude is at the top of that list. There are also a few beliefs around work, my value and self-worth that need to be updated.
As leaders you probably don’t have the bandwidth to choose “Update now” for every situation, problem or challenge, but you also can’t select “Next time” every time and expect to maintain team morale, productivity or make a difference as a leader.
Pick one thing you can choose to “Update Now” and give...
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.