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

Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

Last week as I stood in the Mariners clubhouse introducing myself to new players and asking for interviews, I recognized a familiar trend and pattern. On average it took about five interactions for players to smile, open up in conversations and drop their guard in interviews. Those interactions included just walking past me in the hallway, me saying “Hi” in passing, introducing myself and then asking for the interview.

Throughout my career I’ve noticed the five interactions average in building relationships with athletes and coaches. 

And here’s the thing to keep in mind, the people I work with recognize that talking to the media is part of their job, but ensuring they do that willingly (I can assure you few people are jumping at the chance to talk after a loss) and openly requires effort on my part to build those relationships.

Maybe you’ve never stopped to think about how many interactions it takes to build a relationship, but you can certainly...

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Learn from a Leader: Believe in Yourself

The statement is simple, but it can be the hardest to grasp.

It can be equally difficult to differentiate between feedback and validation. Having a sounding board and getting feedback on your ideas, execution and concepts is important, but if you’re initiating those conversations to get validation you’re undermining your impact, expertise and capabilities. It’s part of the conversation I had with Elaina Herber, President and CEO of the Ascend Hospitality Group, during her Learn from a Leader session in February 2021.

That attitude of knowing what you’re capable of was on full display during the two weeks I spent at Mariners Spring Training. Not a single athlete I talked to or interviewed will entertain a conversation about their shortcomings getting in their way of their success. Every single one of them knows what they’re capable of and that’s their focus.

It doesn’t mean they’re not coachable. It doesn’t mean they’re not...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

Small talk without intentionally is a waste of time.

Which is why I prepare for the 60-second conversations that occur prior to my Spring Training interviews. I’m not just trying to kill time before the camera starts rolling. I’m not filling the silence or just trying to be polite. I have an objective in mind and a question to help guide the conversation.

Intentional preparation makes all the difference between awkward small talk and a productive conversation.

As you think through your conversations this week here are sports topics that could be used to start a conversation.

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

Seemingly small interactions can make a bigger impact than is evident in that moment. 

A former Seahawk reminded me of that in an email yesterday. I had sent him a note congratulating him on a new coaching job and his response included this: “You [were] the only person in media to notice me, but I appreciate it because those small interactions have enormous impact.”

I enjoyed our weekly conversations but didn’t think twice about them or think it was out of the ordinary. What I didn’t realize is how much they meant to him.

There is someone you work with, someone you encounter this week, who will benefit from a small interaction. Take the initiative and engage in the conversation. It makes a difference even if you don’t think twice about it in the moment.

You can use these sports conversation starters to get the ball rolling.

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I hate goodbyes! How to end a virtual meeting

You’ve wrapped up the conversation. You’re done. You’re ready to move on. But you can’t because you haven’t said goodbye. Or maybe you have… to every single person on the virtual call, and a dozen goodbyes later you’re still talking and trying to end the meeting.

You think back to the good ol’ days when you could just stand up and leave the room or announce that you needed to get back to your desk. Then you sigh and wonder how much longer the goodbyes will last and how much more awkward things will get. 

These days ending a conversation could be the most challenging part of starting one.

I get it.

As a sports reporter who does live post-game interviews I’ve dealt with this dynamic for about 15 years. I don’t have to tell you the most awkward part of saying goodbye is having to do it a second time.

I know from personal experience you can’t just end an interview or a conversation with “Goodbye and thank you...

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Managing Up When Working From Home

The freedom and options that come from working from home highlight the benefits of the current business environment.

The downside? There’s less contact, connection and interaction with managers and that can make it difficult to clear up misunderstands and maintain positive relationships.

For example, you can’t walk past their office to see if it’s good time to talk, and there are no organic social interactions in a hallway or elevator that might smooth over what felt like a brusque email or exchange. Plus, a lack of physical cues makes it harder, if not impossible, to gauge reactions and read the room. 

Managing up requires different skills in a work from home environment.

Building, maintaining and growing those relationships comes down to clear, concise communication. These five conversation strategies will help.

 

5 Communication Skills for Managing Up While Working from Home 

Distinguish information from “bad news.” Resist...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Feb 08, 2021

I feel like I’ve said this a lot in the past week, but it’s worth another reminder – the Super Bowl is a great conversation starter, even if you’re not a football fan and even if you didn’t actually watch the game.

Millions of people around the world tuned in to watch Tampa Bay beat Kansas City and they probably made special game day food, have an opinion on the commercials, musical performances and even a thought on what it would be like to travel to Tampa or anywhere else in the world right now. 

The football hype will die down this week, but not without giving you a chance to maintain or build business relationships. If the Super Bowl isn’t your favorite topic there are plenty of other topics making sports headlines this week.

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Feb 01, 2021

By this point you know the drill. Every Monday you can find a list of sports conversation starters right here. These sports conversation starters are more than sports talk. They’re a way to engage in intentional small talk with follow up opportunities that can help you build business relationships. 

So let’s get right to it. Here are a list of sports topics making news this week.

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Learn from a Leader: Building Confidence

I never thought of confidence as a skill. I assumed it was something you acquired with age, wisdom and experience. I believed that confidence was something you needed to earn either by virtue of personal accomplishments or because of a status you obtained.

I didn't know how wrong I was about all of those ideas until talking with high-performance psychologist Michael Gervais during a Learn from a Leader interview.  

"Confidence comes from one place and one place only. It's what you say to yourself." 

Mind blown. 

Confidence isn't something that just happens. It's cultivated. It's also a skill leaders need to develop. The confidence you have in yourself directly impacts how you lead others. 

Take a look at the short clip from Michael's interview for more perspective. Register for the next Learn from a Leader session to get access to the entire library of interviews. 

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Jan 25, 2021

There’s efficiency and necessity around virtual communication these days, but there’s nothing that can replace the richness of in-person interactions.

As an extrovert and a professional communicator, virtual interactions feel incomplete. I’m not able to read the room or body language the same way and the conversations don’t flow the same way.

That’s not the only thing that’s missing. It’s also the timing, frequency and spontaneity of conversations in general.

When there’s no chance of bumping into your colleague, getting in the elevator with your manager or gauging the mood of your team on a Monday morning you’re left wondering what’s going on. That uncertainty creates anxiety and paranoia when working from home.

Did your manager not respond to an email because she’s been in back-to-back meetings or because she didn’t like your idea? Are your colleagues avoiding you because you’re falling out of favor or...

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