Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
Surely it's something you've realized in the current work from home environment. Logging into meetings doesn't mean you're paying attention. In fact, I bet you've figured how out to multi-task even when you're required to turn your camera on.
Don't take your audience for granted and assume they're paying attention just because they're in attendance. Even when your audience (i.e. your team, manager, or clients) is motivated to listen it's easy to get distracted in a virtual environment. Make it easier to focus by delivering in your message in a compelling way.
Intentional pauses. Stop yourself from talking too much by adding pacing mechanisms to your presentations. That includes intentional pauses, full stops for audience engagement and varying the tempo at which you deliver the content. Pacing mechanisms allow your audience to catch up and process what you’re...
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.
Watching Seahawks practice is part of job, and something I look forward to throughout the season. It’s not as glamorous as watching a game but it does give me some insight – as long as I’m not watching the ball.
It’s a habit I developed when I was high school football official. If you watch the ball as an official you’ll miss what’s really going on.
As I stood at practice this week contemplating the Seahawks upcoming game and my own business planning and goals for 2021 I realized that was one of a few lessons from my time as an official that I still use as an entrepreneur and a broadcaster. Here are three officiating fundamentals I’ve inadvertently incorporated into how I make decisions and set goals for the upcoming year.
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.
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.