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I'M ONE TO TALK

Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.

Learn from a Leader: Finding Your Voice

Your resume is a reflection of your skill level, not your leadership ability.

Sure, there are leadership aspects that come through in the jobs you've held and the responsibilities that go along with those roles.

Your skillset is important, but credibility is built through relationships.

When Quandre Diggs arrived in Seattle via trade in 2019 he'd been in the NFL four years. He came from Detroit where he had been a starter and amassed over 200 carer careers. He was a proven talent but he couldn't walk into the Seahawks locker room and assume the role of a vocal leader. As the sideline reporter for the team, I can tell you he is definitely one of the loudest voices in the locker room and he'll explain how he earned that opportunity in the video clip.

It's a good example to follow for anyone joining a new team or trying to take on a larger leadership role. As Diggs said, "It's knowing where you fit in, but you have to have a realistic sense of where you fit in."

Be willing to do the...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

NBA forward Kevin Durant admitted to “thinking too much” during Brooklyn’s playoff series against Boston. The Seattle Kraken players, a team I cover, have recently lamented not playing a simple game. And just about every baseball player facing a critical moment in the batter’s box will talk about the importance of not trying to do too much with a pitch.

These are all ways of saying, “Don’t overthink it.”

I’m going to encourage you to follow that advice this week in small talk. Don’t overthink it. Start the conversation. Trust that you can navigate whatever comes next and remember you can keep it short and to the point. Just 30-seconds will do. Heck, if you use the sentences listed here you’ll be halfway through the 30-second interaction.  

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More Communication Isn't Better... or Helpful

business communication Apr 21, 2022
 

You don't want more communication. What you want is more effective communication, right?

Isn’t that what you actually mean when you tell your team to communicate more?

I’ve worked with a number of clients recently  and sat in on a lot of meetings focused on “more communication.” There are a lot of good intentions in that message, but the results of those meetings frustrate my clients most. Inevitably it leads to at least one person sending a meeting request after the meeting and another starting an email chain that takes anywhere from 12-24 emails to resolve.

More meetings and more emails don’t automatically solve communication issues. It feels like you’re taking action, but what’s the point if you’re not actually communicating.

Don’t leave your team hanging on what “effective communication” or “more communication” looks like. It might seem obvious to you. As a leader you’re taking a 30,000...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Apr 18, 2022

You could look at this as just another week at work.

Or you could look at it as week full of opportunities to connect.

All it takes is strategic small talk and conversation topics like these.

 

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5 Ways to Use the Baseball Season to Your Advantage

If you’re already a baseball fan you know the Major League Baseball season is 162 games. That’s just the regular season. It doesn’t count Spring Training games or playoff games. If you’re thinking, “Wow! That’s a lot of games.” You’re right – and that works to your advantage whether you’re a fan a not.

More importantly the baseball schedule works to your advantage regardless as to if you watch the games. Here’s what I want you to be thinking about – connection points and relationship building.

Before we go any further, let me back up a second and set the stage for this type of gameplan. I’ve been part of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast for 15 seasons. It is my job to be at, or watch, most of the Mariners baseball games throughout the year. Baseball is part of my job.

I’m all for more people watching baseball, but I also know it’s not necessary to watch every single game. You can...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Apr 10, 2022

I love a good list. I love knowing that if I follow a series of steps I’ll get the outcome I want. It doesn’t matter if it’s my daily to-do list, a recipe or workout plan.

Here’s what I found myself contemplating recently about those lists – I usually follow them in chronological order, but they almost always start by looking at the end result. I start by looking at what I want to achieve and then create the list that produces the outcome. 

I would encourage you to look at small talk the same way. Identify your end result first and then determine the topics, create the questions and engage in the conversations that get to your desired outcome.

When you approach small talk that way, sports topics and sports conversations become very valuable in the connections you can make, sports-adject topics you can discuss and follow up opportunities you can plan. Here are a few topics you can use this week to get the ball rolling.

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Learn from a Leader: Leading Strong Personalities

Strong personalities can be an asset for any team. Often those team members are driven, ambitious, competitive and confident in their skills. They want to forge ahead and are always looking for ways to win. 

It's not hard to see where they stand, but they can present challenges for leaders. 

There's probably a specific person who comes to mind (it might even be yourself) when you think about a "strong personality" at work, but for right now let's look at a different type of workplace environment - an NFL locker room. 

I've worked in NFL locker rooms for more than 20 years. I've worked closely with the Seattle Seahawks as their sideline reporter for 13 seasons. I know from personal experience and observation that the personalities in an NFL locker room more closely resemble your team at work than you realize. There are introverts, extroverts, easy-going guys and strong personalties. 

Effectively managing strong personalities is critical for creating buy-in. That's...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

This week marks the start of the Major League Baseball season. Yes, it’s a week late due to their lockout, but each team will still play a full 162-game schedule. Trust me, I know that’s a lot of games. I work the majority of those games as part of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast.

Here’s why I bring this up, the start of baseball season is your chance to map out and plan follow up conversations with baseball-loving colleagues. You’ll know they love (or at least, enjoy) baseball if you hear them talking about Opening Day this week. Ask a few questions and then make notes in your calendar to follow up at various time during the season. You don’t have to talk baseball every day, or even every week, but it’s an easy way to connect with fans who are already talking about it. 

If baseball isn’t your thing here are a list of other sports topics you can use in small talk this week.

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

I highlighted and starred a comment from a Seahawks player during a press conference last week specifically for this weekly reminder. The cornerback was asked what led to his jump in production last season and he said once he developed a familiarity with his teammates he was able to hit his stride. He could anticipate what the guys around him were going to do. He was communicating at a higher level. In the end, he was rewarded with a new contract.

The way you work with others affects your productivity and success. You can’t do it alone. Actually, let me rephrase.. you can do it alone, but you won’t be as successful as the person who gets along well with their team.

Small talk is the starting point for getting along with your team. You can use lots of different topics, but I always lean toward sports because of its popularity and the follow up opportunities it creates. Here are a few sports headlines making news that can work in small talk this week.  

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Learn from a Leader: Dealing with Imposter Syndrome

 

Often in effective business communication less is more. 

A more concise email gets read. Shorter meetings can increase engagement. And simply making a decision without justifying everything that went into your decision can be empowering. 

When you have combined facts, expertise and experience you don't need to say anything else. You might feel like you need to convince people you're right, but the more you try to talk them into something the easier it is to talk yourself out of the confident decision you made. 

Author Katrina Adams is also a past president of the United States Tennis Association. She shares a number of experiences and leadership lesson in her book Own the Arena. You can also access the full Learn from a Leader conversation and the entire library of leaders using this link.

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