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

Asking Better Questions – A Skill for Thought Leaders

business communication Jan 21, 2021

Effective leaders know who they’re leading. Not just the names of the people reporting to them, but the actual people. 

That’s a challenge in any environment because there will always be people who keep things close to the vest, others harbor a distrust of management or leadership, still others aren’t effective communicators putting great onus on leaders to draw out information needed to build good relationships.

The current work from home environment adds another layer to that relationship building process and highlights the importance of Asking Better Questions. 

It’s a topic I discussed as part of Thought Leadership presentation during a webinar hosted by Mary Alice Colvin Co-Lead of the Washington chapter of WIT 

If you want to be a thought leader who affects change and innovation you need to upgrade the questions you’re already asking in order to guide conversations that resonate with the people you lead.

Here are a few more...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Jan 18, 2021

It's just as important to prepare for the conversations you're not going to have as the ones you plan to have this week. 

Maybe you're not going to gossip with a friend, or perhaps you're going to resist the urge to overshare or make assumptions without getting the facts. Maybe you're not going to criticize the way your spouse folds laundry. Whatever conversation you're not having this week, plan for it. Practice what you're going to say instead. Don't leave it to chance that you'll be able to do it on the fly and in the moment.

And if you're looking for something to say, these sports conversation starters should help.

 

 

 

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Jan 11, 2021

I’ll be honest my Monday is a little less happy following the Seahawks loss Saturday. My schedule changes dramatically this week and so will the interactions I’ve had every morning with the “Swab squad” at the Seahawks facility. 

I’ve been part of daily COVID testing for weeks as part of NFL protocols. It takes less than two minutes to get my paperwork, take my temperature and get swabbed every morning and that’s more than enough time to say “Hi,” and build relationships with all the medical professionals in the testing trailer.

Which brings me to this… you have relationships with the people you see on a regular basis, regardless of the amount of time you spend around them. Whether you are intentional about building and cultivating those relationships is up to you.

These sports conversation starters can help you make the most of small talk this week so you can cultivate relationships just a couple minutes at a time.

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Successful Resolutions Aren't Made in January

business communication Jan 04, 2021

Everything starts over in January. The year, your earnings statements, health care benefits, and often your resolve at making big improvements. It makes sense. A brand new calendar, not just a new page in the calendar, feels like a clean slate and a very definitive time to commit to new habits, goals and resolutions.

Except it might not be right the right time for you.

It certainly isn’t for the Seahawks players I cover. There’s time for resolutions, new habits and goals in the offseason, but not now. 

After 20 years in locker rooms as a sports broadcaster and sideline reporter I’ve learned not to make New Year’s resolutions because the most successful people I know (the athletes I cover) don’t for two very good reasons.


  1. Your busy season isn’t the time to develop a new skill (or add more to your plate.) Maybe January is a slow month for you, maybe things don’t pick up until March or June. If that’s the case, go ahead and learn a...
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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Jan 04, 2021

I don’t know if you need the encouragement yet, but good luck with those resolutions!

 

And I’d suggest adding one more item to your 2021 goals: Find ways to show up.

“Showing up” looks different these days. You might not be showing up in person. It might happen in an email, newsletter, text, or logging into your virtual meetings 5-10 minutes early to chat with other folks who also logged in early. Whatever option you choose, commit to consistency. Show up so you’re part of the conversation when it happens. Top of mind when an opportunity arises and available for serendipitous interactions.

Part of showing up is having something to say and being able to skillfully engage in small talk. These sports conversation starters can help with that and you can also download the Talk Sporty 2021 Sports Calendar for a look at the sports year in a glance. 

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Let's Talk About Those Big 2021 Plans

business communication Dec 31, 2020
 

Happy New Year! I bet you have big plans for 2021, but do you have a way to share those plans? What about the accomplishment you’re most proud of from 2020? Do you have a way to communicate that?

If you don’t, it’s time to revisit Success Statements a topic I’ve written, posted and talked about for several years. A Success Statement is a strategic answer to the question, “How are you?” 

I bet most of the time your answer would be, “Fine.” “Good.” Or maybe even, “Great!” There’s nothing wrong with any of those responses, but if that’s all you say, it’s a missed opportunity if that’s all you say.

The answer to that question directs the rest of the conversation – however long or short the interaction is. It’s your chance to highlight the fact that you’re excited to tackle a new project, or that you’re working on a stretch goal, building a new habit or proud of...

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5 Things to Include in Compelling Virtual Presentations

business communication Dec 30, 2020

Attendance doesn't equal attentiveness.

Surely it's something you've realized in the current work from home environment. Logging into meetings doesn't mean you're paying attention. In fact, I bet you've figured how out to multi-task even when you're required to turn your camera on.

Don't take your audience for granted and assume they're paying attention just because they're in attendance. Even when your audience (i.e. your team, manager, or clients) is motivated to listen it's easy to get distracted in a virtual environment. Make it easier to focus by delivering in your message in a compelling way. 

 

5 Things to Include in a Compelling Virtual Presentations

Intentional pauses. Stop yourself from talking too much by adding pacing mechanisms to your presentations. That includes intentional pauses, full stops for audience engagement and varying the tempo at which you deliver the content. Pacing mechanisms allow your audience to catch up and process what you’re...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

Happy holiday week! With any luck you’ll have fewer reasons to log onto virtual meetings this week, but that doesn’t mean your conversations should stop all together. In fact, this is a great week to focus on more personal interactions that are outside the scope of business conversations.

Here are a few options for starting those conversations:

“Good morning! What are you most looking forward to today?”

“Your name came up in a conversation last week and it reminded me to reach out.”

“I’m watching __(insert show here)__ right now and the __ (character)__ reminds me of you.”

Or you can use these sports topics.

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

conversation starters Dec 21, 2020

We’ve made it to Christmas week (something that didn’t seem possible at various points in the year!)

 

Whether you’re gathering with family and friends or connecting virtually, you’re likely to have conversations with loved ones this week. There’s also a good chance that not every conversation goes as planned.

But often just having the conversation is a win and a step toward maintaining relationships or building stronger ones.

And relationships, like wins in the NFL, don’t get graded on style points.

Embrace the opportunity to talk to others this week, especially if you can’t embrace them in person. You can use these sports conversation starters to get things rolling.

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Planning for 2021: Advice for Entreprenuers

Watching Seahawks practice is part of job, and something I look forward to throughout the season. It’s not as glamorous as watching a game but it does give me some insight – as long as I’m not watching the ball.

It’s a habit I developed when I was high school football official. If you watch the ball as an official you’ll miss what’s really going on.

As I stood at practice this week contemplating the Seahawks upcoming game and my own business planning and goals for 2021 I realized that was one of a few lessons from my time as an official that I still use as an entrepreneur and a broadcaster. Here are three officiating fundamentals I’ve inadvertently incorporated into how I make decisions and set goals for the upcoming year.  

Planning for 2021: Advice for Entrepreneurs 

  1. Stop moving to see clearly. If everything is moving or in flux you can’t possibly get an accurate read on what’s going on. As an official it’s not...
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