Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
I was about 13 when I wrote a letter to my favorite sportscaster in Houston. I told her how much I loved the work she did and how I thought it would be so cool to talk to players. Much to my surprise, she responded. She was gracious and encouraging of my interest in sports broadcasting but it’s these words that made the greatest impression, “Athlete are people too.”
It was a little puzzling to hear that as a teenager, but it’s a phrase, a statement and a truth that has driven every interaction I’ve had with athletes for 20 years. It’s easy to see athletes as superheroes or super-human based on their talents and abilities, but at the end of the day they’re people.
I’ve heard from plenty of sports fans who want athletes to “stick to sports.” That would be like me telling you to “stick to your job, because what do you know about sports?”
You don’t have to agree with what athletes say. You probably don’t...
Here’s a conversation starter and a challenge… What can you say outside of “good” when responding to the question, “How are you?”
There are literally dozens of words that are more interesting and convey a more genuine emotion than “good.” In addition, your response to “How are you?” directs and guides the conversation.
So, this week challenge yourself to respond with something better than “good.” Ask others about words they’d use in place of “good” and then throw in one of these sports conversation starters.
“I’ve got better things to do than watch sports.”
It’s feedback I’ve received from a few anti-sports fans in the last couple weeks.
I get it. Watching hours of sports isn’t for everyone (especially if it’s not your job.)
But here’s what those folks aren’t getting – it’s not about the time you spend watching sports, it’s the space you create for others to talk sports that makes sports talk valuable at work.
The sports outcomes aren’t as important as the outcomes you create in building relationships.
And you already know brushing up on your sports knowledge doesn’t require hours in front of the TV, you’ve got this weekly cheat sheet to help out.
Better communication skills are at a premium right now. Communicating remotely requires more clarity than talking to people in person. You’re not going to get the big stuff right (i.e. hash out differences, get on the same page with a project, communicate the correct timeline or actions) if you don’t get the smaller stuff right – like building relationships using small talk.
Don’t skip the small talk this week. Don’t blow it off as a waste of time. It’s practice for bigger conversation and it’s a way to build relationships so you know how to communicate with clarity to each person you work with.
Small talk, like every other conversation these days, can feel like a challenge.
Maybe it’s hard for you to talk, or hear someone talking, while wearing a mask. Maybe it’s because every topic has the potential to become politicized.
I know that small talk can build relationships, but I also know sometimes you just need to take a break and avoid extra interactions.
Even if you don’t plan to use these topics in small talk, read through them to build your sports knowledge base.
I can only imagine how different and oddly familiar it will be to walk into a ballpark today for the first time in more than four months.
Everything about the way I do my job as a sports broadcaster is different. I’m guessing you can say the same thing about your job and the changes you’ve experienced since March.
Here’s one thing that hasn’t changed – our need and desire to connect with people. It might not be in person, it might require masks, it might not be in your preferred setting, but connection is important.
Small talk is part of connecting. Sports can (and I’d argue, should be) part of your small talk conversations. Use these headlines to get the ball rolling in those conversations this week.
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.