Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
There's a reason you’ve probably been told to “keep it simple” at some point. It's a reminder not to overthink or overcomplicate the process or the idea.
The advice gets doled out when making goals you actually want to keep, when problem-solving, presenting new ideas, creating new products and even decorating your house.
Here’s another spot to keep it simple – sports small talk.
Small talk with colleagues is not the time to overthink or prove how much you know. Small should be a relationship building activity. You need to be present and engaged in those moments. Keep the conversation starters simple – that doesn’t mean boring - so you can fully engage in what your colleague is saying instead of coming up with your best retort or comeback.
These weekly sports #ConvoStarters are made for that purpose. There’s just enough information for you to engage in a short conversation that simply helps you build relationships.
"What did I miss?"
It's how you might start a conversation that's already in progress and it's an important starting point for every email you send while working from home.
You might think you're at the beginning of a conversation and that your colleague or employee isn't missing anything, but without regular small talk or overhearing conversations at work they're missing pieces of information.
Every email you send is like joining a conversation midstream. Make sure you include details that provide perspective.
Among the many headlines I read in the last week this one stands out:
Here’s the basic premise – no chitchat leads to feeling less connected to colleagues, less productivity and reduced social skills.
Small talk is, in fact, critical to business.
It’s one of the reasons I’ve committed to providing weekly sports conversation starters every week for the last 11 years.
Here’s a list of topics you can use this week.
You've probably noticed I talk about more than sports. There's a reason for that.
As I mention in the video, there's a correlation between sports, communication skills and leadership.
If you're not using sports fandom or sports experience to improve your communication skills or further develop your leadership abilities you're missing out.
Check out some of the blog posts and sign up for monthly or weekly emails. Send me an email: [email protected] if you're ready to provide your team effective communication training with a whole new twist.
*NOTE: This article is not a commentary on masks, social distancing or other COVID-19 protocols. Please follow the guidelines established by your local and regional authorities.
I’m a sports broadcaster and professional speaker and I hate “thumbnail audiences.”
I’d rather be talking to myself.
If you knew me as a kid (or realized how much I talk to myself during the day) this might not come as a surprise.
But here’s what came as a surprise to me: it’s 100 times easier to be on live TV in front of hundreds of thousands of people I can’t see than present to a thumbnail audience.
I’d rather be talking to myself.
I’ll admit there is value in using technology to connect. Virtual presentations are the norm these days out of necessity, but you might want to reconsider the impact of those messages. For those struggling to keynote with thumbnail audiences on Zoom, Microsoft Teams or WebEx there’s a reason for that. For those...
If there’s a three-day weekend on the horizon, but you’re working from home does it feel any different?
Here’s one way to break out the norm – tune into the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating competition July 4. This annual tradition will take place, but like everything else will look a little different. There won’t be an audience. The competition will take place inside, which means competitors get the advantage of air conditioning, and that might be the edge Joey Chestnut needs to break his own record of 74 hot dogs in 10 minutes. The 12-time champion thinks eating 77 hot dogs is a possibility this year.
If that doesn’t sound exciting to you, maybe these other conversation starters will float your boat.
Usually sports conversations are my outlet. A chance to talk about something other than news. An opportunity to be entertained, and a chance to build relationships with sports fans.
In fact, that’s how I’ve encouraged people to use sports small talk for more than a decade.
As a sports broadcaster those conversations are also part of my job, and increasingly more stressful because it forces me to consider what happens if sports don’t return. For me sports conversations are less of an outlet and more like a huge reason for concern and worry.
I’ve heard a lot of people say there are bigger things to deal with than sports, and there is truth to that, but there’s also the other side of the coin – without sports a lot of jobs are lost.
Here’s why I’m saying this: there’s more than one point of view to consider. In every conversation. Be careful about being shortsighted in the way you approach small talk.
Just a few...
Maybe it’s just me, but there’s nothing like a series of 30-second sprints in the middle of a three-mile run to hammer home just how long 30-seconds is. It doesn’t sound like much time, but it’s more than enough to leave my legs feeling like Jell-O and make me gasp for air.
That same 30-seconds is all it takes to further a business relationship and engage in productive small talk.
Conversations don’t have to be lengthy to make an impact.
Short and sweet can do the trick. Try these sports topics making headlines this week to get the ball rolling.
I offered that piece of advice to college students starting their careers in sports broadcasting. I can’t only talk to an athlete, coach or executive is when I need something and expect them to open up, share their perspective or give me any answer at all. If I don’t put relationships first they will be more likely to turn and walk the other way when they see me coming instead of giving me a warm greeting and insightful answers.
The need for tough conversations and thoughtful discourse won’t go away. Those conversations can get easier if you build relationships along the way. You don’t have to start with the tough conversation. You can start with small talk.
And those small talk conversations can start with sports, like these topics making news this week.
My ability to talk is a bit of a family joke and was well-documented by teachers who noted on every single report card that I had a tendency to “talk too much.”
Everyone agreed a job in sports broadcasting seemed like the perfect fit for me, but no one in my family believed me when I said I was exhausted after talking all day.
After all, what was so different about getting paid to do something I did naturally?
Here’s the difference: the camera.
It’s part of the reason you’re Zoom’ed out, frustrated by having to dial into yet another meeting that seems like even more of a waste of time than usual and more exhausted by the end of the day despite not leaving the house. Certainly, the stress and uncertainty of during this pandemic are part of that dynamic but you should also acknowledge the stress of being on camera.
Virtual meetings, happy hours and interactions...