Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
This weekly list of sports conversation starters isn’t just to spark sports small talk, it’s to provide a springboard to talk about whatever you’d like.
Here’s how it works:
Step 1: Pick one of the topics listed, let’s say Brooks Koepka winning the PGA Championship.
Step 2: Include a second possible conversation topic along with your sports note.
It might sound like this:
“I saw Brooks Koepka won the PGA Championship. I didn’t spend a lot of time watching because we spent most of the weekend looking at houses. Did you watch much of it?”
Sports started the conversation and gave you a way to casually introduce something else you were interested in talking about.
It’s one more way to use sports to your advantage in conversations. Here are topics you can use this week.
437. Wait. Make that 439. That’s the number of emails in my inbox. Four of those are unread. Most of them need to be deleted. As much as I would love to one of those people who get to zero by the end of the day or the week, I’m just not.
In general, I’m on top of email communication and responses, but just like everyone else there are emails that get lost in my inbox. (Which is now up to 442 emails and seven unread messages.) I like getting people the information they need and hate the feeling that I have unfinished business to address.
In my perfect world I would respond to every email within 24 hours. Nothing makes me happier than when I can give a prompt, almost immediate response to a note that landed in my inbox. The reality of my world is that I am often checking emails in a dugout between interviews, in a press box between innings, standing in line getting coffee or in my car between meetings. Not exactly the ideal environment for typing out lengthy...
It’s really hard to concentrate when the sun is out in Seattle.
I know it’s a sentiment shared by most of us here after extended stretches of clouds and cooler (or just plain cold) spring weather. I find myself either staring out the window at the sun or rushing through my work so I can go out and enjoy the sun.
It’s a seasonal thing here in Seattle but it might describe every Monday morning for you and that’s where these sports conversation starters come in.
They’re written with you in mind as a busy professional who on occasion has a short attention span. There are no deep dives, just a snapshot of what’s happening around sports.
And here’s the thing… you don’t even have to read them for these conversation starters to be effective. True story. Just knowing which topics other fans will be talking about this week can help in conversations.
With that in mind here are a few headlines making news this week.
Anything can happen on live TV. Usually it doesn’t. Things go (relatively) smoothly most of the time. When it doesn’t I think back to how my mentor viewed tough shows: “That’s the great thing about doing four shows a night. I always have a chance to end on a high note.”
It’s a valuable lesson to learn in broadcasting but it applies to conversations too. Not every interaction is going to go as planned. Anything can happen. Most of the time it doesn’t, but if you don’t like the way one conversation goes you can always turn the page, have the next convo and end on a high note.
There are a number of different ways to get back on track, if you need an extra conversation starter or two these can help.
I don't know about you but when I think of resiliency or being resilient there's always a positive outcome in the end. As in, you stuck with it, even when it was difficult, and were rewarded.
But sometimes the reward is months or years in the making. Sometimes resiliency is showing up regardless of the outcome because you're taking the next logical step.
I've got a baseball example for you if you're willing to Thinking Outside the Box Scores. The Oakland A's are on pace to set an MLB record for most losses in a single season. They had the fewest wins in baseball at the end of April and yet, they still show up to the ballpark.
Teams/players don't forfeit games on the schedule because they're having a bad season or the odds are stacked against them. I talked to the A's manager who acknowledged it's been challenging, but also said the best thing (and the only thing) the team can do is show up and do the best they can.
Your team might need this reminder or you might...
For all the game film, combine stats and draft profiles, nothing gives you a sense for a player like a conversation.
I spent the weekend covering the NFL Draft for the Seahawks. I talked to each of the 10 players selected and each of those interviews and conversations provided a more dynamic picture than any of the highlights I saw or articles I read. The interactions added context and personality to their accomplishments.
There’s more to athletes than their productivity. The same is true for you. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your work will speak for itself. It does not. The NFL Draft is proof of that.
Be willing to engage in a conversation, about anything, to give your colleagues a more dynamic picture of you. These sports conversation starters can help this week.
How confident are you that your favorite NFL team will make the right hiring choice during the NFL Draft?
There are a lot of opinions online when it comes to mock drafts and predictions. Most of them focus on football. That makes sense because the NFL has turned the Draft into a three-day prime-time televised event, but at its core the draft and all the workouts, Pro Days and the Combine are all part of a hiring process that plays out in a very public way.
Here's what this means for you: there's an opportunity to have productive business conversations that you might not be able to easily broach in your normal day-to-day interactions.
Football fans are talking about the draft. Casual sports fans are aware of the draft. Use that to your advantage. When you use topic that is top-of-mind and direct the conversation towards specific business challenges, discussions and interactions that's Thinking Outside the Box Scores.
When I tell people to use sports in...
There’s more than one way to participate in a conversation. Being an active listener is just as important as anything else in an interaction. It’s also one of the easiest ways to build your confidence - both as a conversationalist and in relationship building.
I see it happen all the time in big league clubhouses. The newcomers aren’t usually the ones driving the conversations. They’re hanging back, listening and warming up the space.
Here’s what that means for you – just show up.
Be willing to interact. Small talk isn’t about having all the answers. Small talk is about making connections and building rapport. These sports conversation starters can help – even if you didn’t spend the weekend watching sports.
You already know I think of sports conversations as a way to connect. I also think of them as a way to practice skills I know I need in other areas of my life.
If you're looking for ways to shine in big moments you should be finding ways to practice in small ones.
Accepting change or leaning into change is something I could always do better. And you know what? I've done that in the last couple weeks and if you're a baseball fan so have you! Almost 3 weeks into the season you've not only heard about the new rules across the major leagues you're probably already used to them. That's change management. That's accepting and leaning into change. Gold star for you!
If you're not quite there, this reminder from the Spring Training for Your Career series could help.
As for this week's conversation starters, there's no need to change a good thing. Here's the list you can use to get the ball rolling in small talk.
Golf is not a sport I watch with a lot of intensity, but I'll often watch the end of a tournament and the fanfare of the final few holes. Which got me thinking outside the box scores about how to approach a finish line, whether it's a golf tournament, sporting event or a project at work.
If you're not a sports fan, "running out the clock" is something a football team could do. A team that has the lead, the ball and very little time on the clock might do the bear minimum (almost like going through the motions) until the clock ticks down to zero. There's no reason to give extra effort. There's no reason to run an extra play. The game has already been decided and both teams are just waiting until they can leave the field.
It doesn't work that way in golf. The outcome might have been decided on Hole 16 or 17 but the round is still 18 holes. The winner, and everyone else for that matter, has to play out the round, and there is incentive and pressure to finish strong.