Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
For a second straight week I have a confession to make - I never did get around to filling out my NCAA Tournament bracket. It's a little embarrassing since I work in sports, but I'm also a real person with a lot on my plate.
I will still talk about hoops and the NCAA Tournament because it's what sports fans are talking about. I might not go into many details and I definitely spend more time asking questions and listening, but I don't opt out of the conversation altogether. There are ways to alter your sports conversations based on your sports knowledge base.
Here are a few talking points to boost your confidence when talking sports this week.
It’s interesting the assumptions we make about sports fans. From what we think a sports fan looks like to how they should sound in a conversation. To me, the most interesting assumption is that sports fans don’t need any help in talking about sports.
I frequently see articles or resources on how to talk sports if you’re not a sports fan. Heck, I’ve been quoted in those articles, written books and created resources around that. There’s an assumption that if you’re already a fan you don’t need help talking about sports, but there are things you’re missing.
As a lifelong sports fan and a 22-year sports broadcasting veteran I talk sports for a living and spend a lot of time around people who enjoy sports and talk sports. For as much as I enjoy those conversations, most of the...
Wowza! There is no shortage of sports headlines to talk about this week. From Tom Brady un-retiring to the NCAA Tournament and the start of baseball Spring Training games - sports fans are buzzing. There’s a lot you can talk about and the NCAA Tournament is an easy entry point to basketball conversations.
Here are a few ideas:
Here’s a confession:
I haven’t watched more than 20 minutes of college basketball this season. I’ve been busy covering other sports, but I’m still going to talk about the NCAA Tournament because it is it’s own season. Anything can happen this month. I don’t really need to know what happened prior to the tournament, because when I watch games or highlights the announcers...
If you want the ability to give direct feedback and have honest conversations that are well-received at work you need a good relationships with your colleagues. That requires you to talk about something outside of work.
Every athlete and coach I’ve talked to throughout my 22-year broadcasting career has talked about the importance of getting away from the field, court or rink when it comes to building relationships with teammates. It’s about getting away from work and getting to know people on a personal level. For athletes that means staying away from sports talk. For you, sports can help cultivate the relationships you need to be more honest, well-received and productive at work. These topics can help you jump into small talk this week.
It doesn't always feel like that but it's an important distinction for building confidence. Focusing on what we do instead of who we are makes our confidence and self worth conditional. Dr. Chantale Lussier is a mental skills consultant who works with athletes and high performing individuals. She joined the Learn from a Leader series to share this insight about developing confidence.
Here's one way you can catch yourself in the act of conditional self-worth: "I am" vs. "I did."
I did x,y,z at work.
I am proud of how I showed up to do the job.
I did not get the new job.
I am pleased with how my interviews went.
You won't always be happy with the outcomes. You won't always feel good, but if you can force yourself to think about the difference between "I did" and "I am" you''ll have better self-awareness of what's driving your confidence.
You can find more...
Several companies have announced return-to-office timelines, which has caused mixed emotions among employees.
I can’t take away those challenges or frustrations, but I can point out the benefits of in-person conversations. Talking to people in person helps improve creativity, speeds up innovation (as in, coming up with new ideas and new ways to do things) and cultivates stronger relationships at work. All those things can happen whether you’re talking about work or not.
Organic, casual conversations go a long way in improving our communication with colleagues. It’s why you should spend a little time strategizing your approach to small talk. I recommend using sports and these topics making news this week.
Sports brings communities together in ways other interests can't. That's the real value of sports conversations and sports small talk.
Sports allows you to connect with people from all different backgrounds, young and old, male and female... but only if you include everyone in your conversations.
It's easy to make assumptions about what you think sports fans look like. Men, for example. I bet you're more likely to assume men are sports fans. Which also means you're more likely to exclude women from sports conversations. As a woman who has worked in sports broadcasting for more than 20 years I know that's not that's not the case. I also know that when I'm excluded from a sports conversation based on my gender I get irritated and I'm not interested in connecting or building relationships. Not a big deal if we just meet in passing, but much bigger deal if you want to work with me, or if you're a server at a restaurant and would like a tip.
I shouldn't have to tell you I...
Your accomplishments, resume and skillset aren’t the keys to your success. Your ability to communicate is.
Now you might be thinking, “Hold up, what are we talking about here? I was looking for sports topics to talk about this week.”
Keep reading for your weekly dose of sports conversation starters and remember that small talk is the building block for relationships and a great place to practice communication skills you need in business. That’s the real benefit of talking about any of these sports topics in the news.
People follow people, not plans.
Your credentials are important for getting the job, but when it comes to leading, inspiring and motivating your team forget about the resume. Heck, forget about the 5-step plan you created, and the new process everyone is going to follow. I'm sure you have great ideas and writing down organized thoughts is important, but that's not what creates buy-in.
The people around you need to relate to you. The only way to see that everyone is all in this together is to show them who you are. As Sooz Jarosch says, there has to be that, "Yeah, me too" realization.
It is a lovely feeling to know you can walk into a room, or log into a virtual one, and say something that will allow you to connect instantly. Football can do that today. Anyone who loves football will also love a conversation starter about the big game. There won’t be a shortage of opinions, and they might not stick to sports, but it’s an easy way to connect with people who love football, food, entertainment.
And if you have colleagues who don’t love football quite as much, there are a number of other sports topics that would make lovely conversation starters this week.