Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
More isn’t better. Longer conversations don’t lead to better communication. Additional information doesn’t lead to better understanding.
I was guilty of that this week.
My editor and I met to discuss the plan for editing the 32 interviews I completed during my 10 days in Spring Training. It’s a conversation we’ve had every year for the last 10 years and something we’d been talking about for the last month. I thought we were on the same page. I expected a quick, easy conversation and was floored and frustrated when he suddenly had objections.
I couldn’t figure out what changed and why we suddenly felt like adversaries instead of colleagues and friends who can practically read each other’s minds because we’ve worked together for so many years.
And then I saw it. The look on his face and the stack of papers in his hand.
Sports fans inherently know the importance of storytelling. Unless they’re the type who look at the score or the outcome… and nothing else. No highlights. No recaps. No interviews. No social media. No conversations with other fans.
And let’s face, that’s not the way fans consume information.
It’s also not the way you or your colleagues consume information. Even data driven people with a thirst for stats know there’s a story behind the numbers that influences or affects decisions.
Storytelling is hugely important for conveying messages, providing context and influencing people – things all leaders should do.
But there’s a catch.
Storytelling is subjective.
Yet it’s universally accepted the most influential and effective leaders are great storytellers. It’s a requirement that seemingly comes with a moving target unless you start...
Happy Monday! Although depending on who you were cheering for in the Super Bowl (and how long that party lasted) you might be feeling anything but happy.
I totally get it.
Here’s what else I get. Whether you liked the outcome of the game. Agreed with the play calling. Placed bets on who won the coin toss or have already wagered on next year’s odds – the Super Bowl is a huge conversation starter this week.
It’s a sports story, human interest story, entertainment and business news all in one event. If you’re not talking about it, you’re probably missing out on huge opportunities to build relationships… or you’re talking about the other sports topics making news this week.
To make sports conversations useful in business, you need to be able to see past the stats and scores. Certainly, the outcomes of games can be conversation starters, but there’s more to talk about and relate to when watching games.
For example, you could:
Of course there’s always using these sports conversation starters to give fans a platform to talk, share and connect this week.
Whether you like it or not you are part of a team. Even entrepreneurs work with teams of people that require a certain level of teamwork.
You can argue the value of working together on group projects.
You can dislike the team members you’re working with.
Or you can extoll the benefits and importance of teamwork, like the fact that people who work on a team are twice as likely to be engaged at work according to a global study done by the ADP Research Institute.
The teams I work as a sports broadcaster don’t question the value of teamwork because it’s a requirement. Teamwork isn’t a buzz word in sports. It’s not a cliché. Being a good teammate isn’t category on yearly performance review, it’s on display for athletes every single day.
Which means… watching sports can provide insight on how to be a better teammate. Sports is more than stats and scores.
Watching sports with a critical eye reinforces what teamwork actually is...
Did you know the average NFL game in 2019 was watched by an average of 16.5 million people?
Maybe that stat intrigues me because I’m an NFL sideline reporter or maybe it’s because that’s a significant number of people invested in football games.
Those are the same people you see at work, bump into getting coffee and meet at networking events.
And that’s just one of the reasons you should be using sports small talk to your advantage. Sports fans are primed to talk about their favorite teams, the outcome of games and prolific performances. Give them the platform. Develop rapport and once you have their attention, transition to business.
Use these conversation starters this week:
When I look into the future for 2020 I see sports. Lots of sports.
Although, I suppose that’s true for every year and every decade. Which is why every year I update this handy dandy chart of major sporting events and general sports timelines to track throughout the year.
It’s a habit I developed early in my TV career as a sports producer. I was responsible for generating nightly content and staying on top of upcoming events and having a calendar of events helps with the planning process. So, about this time every year I would literally get out my paper calendar and pencil in sports schedules I needed to follow. I’ve maintained that habit as a blogger and business owner who talks about sports.
This chart helps me track topics for the weekly Conversation Starters blog… AND it helps me plan follow up emails and conversations with sports-loving clients and people in my network.
There are lots of reasons I use sports conversations in business, here are the...
Get a jump start on those New Year’s resolutions by committing to at least one productive small talk conversation a day this week.
What makes small talk productive?
It should allow you to learn something about the person you’re talking to that could be used in a follow up conversation.
Here’s my general rule of thumb: sports works, weather does not. I mean, how many times can you ask about rainy weather, cloudy weather, winter weather… you get my drift.
Here are a few sports topics you can use this week.
Happy Holiday week!
I’ll keep this short and sweet since you’ve got a lot on your plate. Don’t forget that sports topics make good small talk options around family and friends. Debate if that’s your style but keep it light enough to avoid huge fights.
You should be connecting with people not alienating them.
“How do you get a coworker to trust you, especially if you’re younger and don’t have as much experience?”
That question came from a high schooler attending a leadership panel I facilitated last week. It was a great question and great awareness for an emerging leader. And I’m not sure I provided the answer she wanted. I told her there’s no one thing you can say to anyone in a single conversation to get them to trust you. It’s true for the athletes I cover and the colleagues I work with.
It takes showing up consistently and multiple interactions to develop trust. Those interactions don’t have to be lengthy. It can be a short exchange in passing, which is why small talk is so important and why should be using these sports #ConvoStarters this week.