Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
If you’ve jumped on the Ted Lasso bandwagon you know it is possible to be kind and competitive at the same time.
It’s a scripted show with a Hollywood storyline but I’ve actually worked with coaches who are that kind. I’ve seen fans be the ultimate encouragers. I’ve experienced entire communities rally around sports.
And after 20 years in sports broadcasting, I’ve seen the opposite.
I’ve heard fans yelling profanities at teenagers and try to explain their bad behavior by saying sports is their escape. Claiming you’re a different person at a game than you are at work is a convenient cop out, but it’s not true. You are the same person on game day as you are every other day of the week. The environment is different, but you are an extension of the same person. That’s why it’s important to be as intentional with your fandom as you are in your business relationships. This is all part of your brand.
As someone who attends...
If initiating small talk isn’t your jam, then bring the conversation to you by displaying the logo of your favorite team where people can see it.
You could wear it, use a notebook or pen that has a team logo or make sure it’s in view of your Zoom background. Sports fans will pick up on it and ask.
If you do feel like striking up the conversation, these sports conversation starters will help.
If starting a conversation is intimidating or challenging for you, use this Talk Sporty 101 tactic to bring the conversation to you - wear your team's logo.
When you wear the logo of your favorite team you make it easy for other people to say something first. This strategy is particularly effective for introverts and if you're in large group settings, like parties and networking events, that might be overwhelming.
Here are a few things to remember when using this strategy:
This is a great approach if you don't want to be the first person to say something. In addition, it will help you identify other sports fans who would be open to sports small talk.
You can’t gain more confidence without practice.
As Nike taught us a long time ago – just do it.
It doesn’t get easier to strike up conversations with strangers, or initiate a sports conversation, or lead a meeting or attend a networking event unless you just do it.
Find small ways to step out of your comfort zone, like committing to a quick 30-second small talk exchange. These sports conversation starters can help with what to say.
When push comes to shove it could be tempting to quit, but that's not a choice for the athletes I work with. Professional athlete don't just leave the field during the middle of a game. They don't throw in the towel at halftime and decide not to play the second half. They don't quit.
That's not to say it's easy, but here's where athletes have the advantage: they've failed a lot. They've lost games, they've missed shots, they've had bad games, and they've bounced back. That's resiliency and tenacity.
Tenacity in sports looks different than in business, but it requires the same mindset. Elaina Morris Herber is a former collegiate soccer player and the President and CEO of Ascend Hospitality Group.
There’s nothing wrong with focusing on the outcome of a game. It’s what most fans talk about which make scores, or at least noting a win/loss, helpful in small talk.
But there are other takeaways from games including communication and leadership lessons. I’ve outlined at least five ways you can level up your leadership skillswhile watching sports and coming up Wednesday you can join the conversation with former MLS player Roger Levesque at 10am PST. Use this link to register for free.
And of course you can use this list of sports conversation starters all week long.
The pressure new sports fans put on themselves is immense. From thinking they need an answer to every question or believing they should know more facts or data, new and novice sports fans expect more of themselves than most fans do.
It comes down to confidence.
Here’s what I mean, if you’re a long-time Seahawks fan who’s been busy at work the last couple days and haven’t had time to read about the latest roster move or read comments from Pete Carroll you don’t stop yourself from joining a football conversation and you don’t think you’re less of a fan. You think, and know, you’re a busy fan with more than your hobby vying for your attention.
New and novice fans, often lack the confidence to enter the conversation with that recognition and mindset. They more harshly judge their lack of knowledge or time spent on sports than anyone. And they don’t realize that all they need to do is define their area of expertise.
Fans in stadiums have led to the highest NFL ratings in six years. That’s based on numbers through the first four weeks of the regular season. Games have drawn an average of 17.4 million viewers. Not every one of them is a hard-core fan. Not every one has been a life long fan. There are varying levels of fans but their interest in football gives you a great starting point in small talk.
There are a couple NFL headlines listed in this week’s list of sports conversation starters and if football isn’t your thing there are other sports making news too.
Leadership is process of discovery. Discovering how to be more effective, authentic, vulnerable. How to be more of your whole self and find your voice.
Great leaders have confidence in their ability to communicate, and do it well. Access the full Learn from a Leader library and the upcoming conversation on October 20 at 10am PT with former professional soccer player Roger Levesque using this link.
Sports headlines are great for building your sports knowledge base and starting conversation, but what happens when you get asked to dive deeper or get asked to weigh in on a topic, game or player you’re not familiar with? Then what do you do?
I get this question all the time. I know it causes a lot of anxiety, but there is a pretty simple way to solve this problem.
First, don’t panic. Resist the urge to just walk away from the conversation.
Second, recognize it’s not your job to have answers to every sports question. (Sports is my job, but it’s your hobby.)
Third, redirect a conversation that starts with “Did you see…” using the words, “No, but…”
“Did you see the game last night?” “No, but what happened?”
“Did you see what the Seahawks are doing?” “No, but do you have any insight?”
You don’t have to have the answers, you just need a way to keep the...