Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
There’s a thought among some long-time fans that bandwagon fans aren’t “real” fans. Wrong. They’re just showing a different level and interest in sports.
If you are jumping on board and getting excited about something like the baseball playoffs don’t feel pressure to contribute to a sports conversation that’s over your head.
We all have to start somewhere. You aren’t a fraud or a faker because you know the final score of a game, but you don’t know advanced statistics and sabermetrics. You might be a novice fan but you’re still a fan and you still belong in the conversations. Take on the role of being an active listener instead of driving the interaction.
Use these conversation starters to get people around you talking.
Everything changes, including your decisions. The “right“ decision might change based on new circumstances. That’s why it’s far more important to focus on the process you used to make decisions, as opposed to the decision itself.
Case in point, this interview was taped at the beginning of the pandemic with very little was known about anything. We are still talking about making decisions in the face of uncertainty.
Thanks to Steve Singh of at Madrona Venture group for sharing these insights during a Learn from a Leader session. You can register for the next live session with former professional soccer player Roger Levesque at 10am on October 20th.
Not all conversation starters are useful or even appropriate for small talk.
I follow a few news outlets and newsletters that offer conversation starters that are definitely topics you should know about, but not practical for quick conversations at work. They’re also potential hot button issues. Just because you should know about a topic doesn’t mean you should be talking about it in casual conversations with colleagues and coworkers.
When choosing your conversation starters make sure you consider how much time you have for the conversation, who you’re talking to and where the conversation is taking place (i.e., in an elevator vs. over lunch.)
Sports small talk fits the bill every time. It’s why I continue to offer a list of weekly sports conversation starters like these.
There are a lot of things you could talk about when you become a sports fan, and that’s part of the problem - there are too many things to talk about.
Here’s the best way to approach it: start small and start with the headlines.
Instead of watching all the football you can handle on a weekend and hoping to remember one or two things, pick one team to follow. You can narrow your focus even more and choose a favorite player on the team. When you see out information about your favorite player you’ll ended up learning about the team, league, opponents and trends along the way.
I know that still sounds like a lot and here’s where the headlines come in. Sports headlines are your secret weapon to building your sports knowledge base in a way that you can actually remember what you read and jump into sports conversations right way.
Now, when I say headlines, I literally mean just the headlines. I prefer the ones in an actual printed newspaper, but you can glance at...
Fandom isn’t accidental. There’s always a story behind a favorite team or player. If you don’t want to talk about the outcome of a game with a colleague or friend, try asking about the origin of their fandom.
These sports headlines can help jumpstart small talk this week.
In the last 18 months I’ve gotten pretty good at both hearing and saying, “I don’t know.” Sometimes it is the best answer, and sometimes it’s the only answer.
It’s not always comfortable to admit you don’t have an answer, or that you don’t know any more details. This is one of the ways sports conversations can help, it’s a low stress, low-leverage way to practice not having all the answers.
If you get asked about the score of a game you didn’t watch saying “I don’t know. I didn’t watch the game,” is a great response. (It’s also the correct one because you shouldn’t try to fake your way through a conversation.) Sports small talk is a great way to practice a skill you need in bigger conversations. In the grand scheme of things no one cares if you watched the game but being able to confidently say “I don’t know” is a skill you need in business conversations. ...
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but there’s no such thing as sports talk “for women.” I’m a woman who’s worked in sports broadcasting for 20 years and I don’t know what that means.
The implication is that women need special help talking sports or that you need to talk to women differently that you would talk to other sports fans. That’s just not true. (And if it was, TV and radio broadcasts of games would sound much different.)
Sports fans are sports fans. That’s it. End of story. You don’t talk to fans differently because of their gender. Wait, maybe I should clarify, you shouldn’t talk to fans differently because of their gender.
When people distinguish male versus female fans it’s often a misguided attempt to categorize different types of fans. I think they’re trying to say that not every fan wants to talk about stats and draw the distinction that some fans would prefer to hear more about a...
This is the silly family update I posted last week. My niece and nephew live in Houston, but there’s never been any doubt (at least in my mind) they would be Seahawks fans. Auntie Jen has made sure of that!
Most of the responses to this lighthearted Tweet were lighthearted in return. There were a few people, however, who saw it as an opening to say ugly things about Texas, people in Texas and other groups of people they didn’t like.
I know you can use sports to springboard into many different topics – in fact I often encourage it. However, if you’re truly interested in small talk that builds relationships, there’s a benefit to “sticking to sports” and avoiding small talk that verbally attacks groups of people.
You can choose how you want to talk to people about sports and you can choose to be kind. Keep that in mind when you use these conversation starters this week.
Sports fandom looks different to different people. Some fans memorize stats and are glued to the TV during games. Others take a more casual approach, enjoying the social aspect of watching games with others and taking in game day traditions and rituals.
There’s no one way to be a sports fan. Don’t listen to the die-hards who claim they’re the only “real” fans in the building. On the flip side, give yourself credit for being a fan. You don’t need to make excuses for not watching more sports and you don’t need to apologize for only following the local team.
Here’s a breakdown of how we at Talk Sporty to Me categorize sports fans.
Being aware of sports fan profiles can help you stay in your lane in a conversation. I realize that phrase can have a negative...
Do it because you can, not because you want to.
I heard a fitness instructor say that this week and it’s exactly how I feel when I’m coaching people on how to talk sports and engage in small talk.
The conversation you think doesn’t matter actually opens the door for bigger conversations of greater substance. I can’t think of any athlete I’ve interviewed (and I’ve talked to hundreds of them) that I haven’t made small talk with at some point before starting the interview – even if it was just 15 seconds of introducing myself before going on live TV.
You might not want to take time out of your day for small talk, but do it because you can and because it makes a difference in the long run.
Use this list of sports topics to start small talk conversations this week. If this list seems like a lot, then focus on the only question you need to be able to answer: “Who’s your team?”