Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
As an extrovert and a professional communicator, virtual interactions feel incomplete. I’m not able to read the room or body language the same way and the conversations don’t flow the same way.
That’s not the only thing that’s missing. It’s also the timing, frequency and spontaneity of conversations in general.
When there’s no chance of bumping into your colleague, getting in the elevator with your manager or gauging the mood of your team on a Monday morning you’re left wondering what’s going on. That uncertainty creates anxiety and paranoia when working from home.
Did your manager not respond to an email because she’s been in back-to-back meetings or because she didn’t like your idea? Are your colleagues avoiding you because you’re falling out of favor or...
It's just as important to prepare for the conversations you're not going to have as the ones you plan to have this week.
Maybe you're not going to gossip with a friend, or perhaps you're going to resist the urge to overshare or make assumptions without getting the facts. Maybe you're not going to criticize the way your spouse folds laundry. Whatever conversation you're not having this week, plan for it. Practice what you're going to say instead. Don't leave it to chance that you'll be able to do it on the fly and in the moment.
And if you're looking for something to say, these sports conversation starters should help.
I’ll be honest my Monday is a little less happy following the Seahawks loss Saturday. My schedule changes dramatically this week and so will the interactions I’ve had every morning with the “Swab squad” at the Seahawks facility.
I’ve been part of daily COVID testing for weeks as part of NFL protocols. It takes less than two minutes to get my paperwork, take my temperature and get swabbed every morning and that’s more than enough time to say “Hi,” and build relationships with all the medical professionals in the testing trailer.
Which brings me to this… you have relationships with the people you see on a regular basis, regardless of the amount of time you spend around them. Whether you are intentional about building and cultivating those relationships is up to you.
These sports conversation starters can help you make the most of small talk this week so you can cultivate relationships just a couple minutes at a time.
I don’t know if you need the encouragement yet, but good luck with those resolutions!
And I’d suggest adding one more item to your 2021 goals: Find ways to show up.
“Showing up” looks different these days. You might not be showing up in person. It might happen in an email, newsletter, text, or logging into your virtual meetings 5-10 minutes early to chat with other folks who also logged in early. Whatever option you choose, commit to consistency. Show up so you’re part of the conversation when it happens. Top of mind when an opportunity arises and available for serendipitous interactions.
Part of showing up is having something to say and being able to skillfully engage in small talk. These sports conversation starters can help with that and you can also download the Talk Sporty 2021 Sports Calendar for a look at the sports year in a glance.
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.
We’ve made it to Christmas week (something that didn’t seem possible at various points in the year!)
Whether you’re gathering with family and friends or connecting virtually, you’re likely to have conversations with loved ones this week. There’s also a good chance that not every conversation goes as planned.
But often just having the conversation is a win and a step toward maintaining relationships or building stronger ones.
Embrace the opportunity to talk to others this week, especially if you can’t embrace them in person. You can use these sports conversation starters to get things rolling.
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.
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.
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.