Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
NBA forward Kevin Durant admitted to “thinking too much” during Brooklyn’s playoff series against Boston. The Seattle Kraken players, a team I cover, have recently lamented not playing a simple game. And just about every baseball player facing a critical moment in the batter’s box will talk about the importance of not trying to do too much with a pitch.
These are all ways of saying, “Don’t overthink it.”
I’m going to encourage you to follow that advice this week in small talk. Don’t overthink it. Start the conversation. Trust that you can navigate whatever comes next and remember you can keep it short and to the point. Just 30-seconds will do. Heck, if you use the sentences listed here you’ll be halfway through the 30-second interaction.
I love a good list. I love knowing that if I follow a series of steps I’ll get the outcome I want. It doesn’t matter if it’s my daily to-do list, a recipe or workout plan.
Here’s what I found myself contemplating recently about those lists – I usually follow them in chronological order, but they almost always start by looking at the end result. I start by looking at what I want to achieve and then create the list that produces the outcome.
I would encourage you to look at small talk the same way. Identify your end result first and then determine the topics, create the questions and engage in the conversations that get to your desired outcome.
When you approach small talk that way, sports topics and sports conversations become very valuable in the connections you can make, sports-adject topics you can discuss and follow up opportunities you can plan. Here are a few topics you can use this week to get the ball rolling.
This week marks the start of the Major League Baseball season. Yes, it’s a week late due to their lockout, but each team will still play a full 162-game schedule. Trust me, I know that’s a lot of games. I work the majority of those games as part of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast.
Here’s why I bring this up, the start of baseball season is your chance to map out and plan follow up conversations with baseball-loving colleagues. You’ll know they love (or at least, enjoy) baseball if you hear them talking about Opening Day this week. Ask a few questions and then make notes in your calendar to follow up at various time during the season. You don’t have to talk baseball every day, or even every week, but it’s an easy way to connect with fans who are already talking about it.
If baseball isn’t your thing here are a list of other sports topics you can use in small talk this week.
I highlighted and starred a comment from a Seahawks player during a press conference last week specifically for this weekly reminder. The cornerback was asked what led to his jump in production last season and he said once he developed a familiarity with his teammates he was able to hit his stride. He could anticipate what the guys around him were going to do. He was communicating at a higher level. In the end, he was rewarded with a new contract.
The way you work with others affects your productivity and success. You can’t do it alone. Actually, let me rephrase.. you can do it alone, but you won’t be as successful as the person who gets along well with their team.
Small talk is the starting point for getting along with your team. You can use lots of different topics, but I always lean toward sports because of its popularity and the follow up opportunities it creates. Here are a few sports headlines making news that can work in small talk this 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.
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.
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.
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.