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

Tis the Season to Practice Saying Thank You

business communication Nov 24, 2021

When it comes to thanks and praise would you rather give or receive?

It’s a bit of a trick question because you should be equally adept at both. This time of year gives you a chance to practice showing gratitude and receiving compliments.

Graciously receiving a compliment is a skill and it’s important to the narrative you create at work.

If someone says, “Great work! I’m really impressed by how that turned out” and your first reaction to say something like, “It was nothing” you aren’t being humble, you’re lying. It was something. In fact, your efforts made someone stop and notice enough to pay you a compliment. That’s an opportunity to own your accomplishment. Don’t downplay your skills, efforts or success. Don’t shrink back. And don’t give all the credit to your team.

You might be used to saying something like, “My team deserves all the credit” without realizing what you’re actually...

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Talk Sporty 101: It's more than sports

 

A sporting event is just that – an event. There’s always more going on than the game itself and that introduces additional conversation topics outside of the stats, scores and outcome.

Sports conversations don’t have to focus on the game itself. You can choose to talk about the experience of watching a game.

The Super Bowl is a great example. You could talk about the teams and players or you could talk about the food, commercials, halftime entertainment, location, parties you’ll attend and who you’ll be watching it with.

There are few events as big as the Super Bowl during the year, but these potential conversation topics exist in every game. You could choose to talk about what you ate a game, or restaurants near the stadium you like to visit. Talking about the vibe in the building or the friends who went to the game with you is an option too. If you watched a game on TV, the location of the game could lead to conversations about travel or personal...

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High-Performance Habits to Help You Win at Work

business communication Nov 15, 2021

Talented teams and athletes make winning look effortless. It’s not just their physical strength and abilities that lead to results, it’s the habits they lean on daily that produce great outcomes. 

There’s always more going on behind the scenes than what you see on game day. The same is true in your office and with your team. Your habits determine your success even more than your talent and hard work.

Here are three high-performance habits you can borrow from sports to help you win at work. 

  1. Practice like you play. Coaches preach it, athletes say it. It sounds cliché until you watch professional athletes in practice. Of course, Russell Wilson is practicing touchdown throws to Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Of course, the Mariners are trying to launch it out of the ballpark during at least one round of batting practice. But do you know what they do at least 90% of the time? They practice fundamentals at very basic levels. Hand placement, wrist...
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Kindness in Sports - Find something nice to say

business communication Nov 04, 2021

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...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

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.  

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Talk Sporty 101: Define your area of "expertise"

 

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. 

This...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

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.

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

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.

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Talk Sporty 101: Start small

 

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...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

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. ...

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