Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
I talk to losers.
It is literally part of my job.
When people find out I work in sports broadcasting they automatically jump to the cool parts of the job like being on the field and talking to players after a win. But that’s only part of my job. I talk to players and coaches win or lose. I talk to players after making spectacular plays and after they dropped a pass that could have been the game-winning touchdown.
Not all interviews are fun. Not all interviews are easy. Sometimes those conversations are tough and ones that I would rather not have, but as I mentioned it’s part of my job.
It’s also part of your job to have tough conversations and address mistakes, errors and shortcomings. I know you want to avoid them. I also know it’s better if you don’t. As someone who’s forced to have these conversations on a weekly (if not daily) basis here’s what I know to be true: Being direct and straightforward is the kindest and often easiest way to...
A quick search about small talk and effective small talk reveals lists of questions, articles on the “necessary evil” of it and hacks to make it easier.
What if you tried to personalize it instead of trying to avoid it? Instead of arming yourself with a list random questions or looking for an easy way out, what if you prepared for the conversation and walked away from the interaction having accomplished something?
If you consider small talk a necessary evil of course you’re going to try and avoid it. If it’s always awkward you’re not going to initiate it and if you think it’s a waste of time you won’t bother putting yourself in position to have the conversation in the first place.
Small talk can be all of those things. Often because it’s not the conversation we prepare for.
We prepare for the big moments and the “real” conversation. We think small talk is something we endure or blow off altogether.
Habits can be tough to break, especially when there’s no obvious need to change what you’ve grown comfortable doing. Take standard small talk and conversation norms. It’s polite and even expected that the question “How are you?” is part of a standard greeting. No one questions this approach to a conversation, but nearly everyone falls prey to the awkward silence that follows. You know how this goes:
“Hey, good to see you! How are you?”
“I’m good! How are you?”
The awkward silence generally comes next in the conversation has always been there, but my guess is you had an easier time recovering and filling the void before the pandemic. At least, that’s been my experience. Two years ago, I didn’t have to try so hard to figure out what came next in the conversation and as someone who got “talks too much” on every single report card, I didn’t expect short...
Did you know that research has shown the average person sends and receives 121 emails a day while at work?
Researchers have also determined every time you are distracted by an email it can take 23 minutes to fully get over a distraction.
If your response to that information is, “I don’t have time for that!” We’re in the same boat.
I’m amazed at how many times I say that… and then inadvertently create more work for myself that leads to even more frustration. For example, getting an email I don’t have time for, and then being forced to deal with a dozen follow up messages because every response from me lacks enough detail to be truly helpful.
Firing off a quick reply to the initial email makes it feel like I’m dealing with it and getting something off my plate but the reality is - I’m creating more work for myself because I’m rarely addressing the actual issue. And I’m much more likely to allow my emotions...
Hot mic moments. I think we've all had them at some point in the last couple years with as much as we've spent logged on to virtual meetings, conferences and happy hours.
You know how cringe-worthy those moments can be. And I know the dangers of having a hot mic moment on live TV. Up until recently I'd never had one, but after 22 years in sports broadcasting, it happened. And I actually wouldn't mind if it happened again because it showed that practice what I preach.
It's important to practice for conversations and interactions big and small and that's exactly what I was doing.
The conversations you probably need to practice these days are the ones taking place face-to-face and in-person. Transitioning back to an office is a different dynamic than what we've gotten used to in the last couple years. And here's what people miss - talking to people in person is not like riding a bike. It is a not a skill you learn once, come back to and pick up right where you left...
I don't have time to be emotional. Heck, in my line of work I can't afford to be "emotional." As a woman working in sports that's one of the quickest ways to lose respect and become the "problem" everyone has to deal with.
For years I tried to control my emotions. Nearly every sporting event and game I participated in growing up resulted in me being told to get better at controlling my emotions.
I tried. I got a little better, but ultimately I failed because it's not about controlling emotions it's about harnessing them. There's a big difference. Mental Performance Consultant Dr. Chantale Lussier provided insight during a Learn from a Leader conversation.
Sports is a great place to recognize the value in harnessing emotions. If you're already a sports fan you've seen players lose their cool, get into their own heads and minimize their effectiveness during games as a result of not being able to harness their emotions during games.
The same thing happens in...
Sure, there are leadership aspects that come through in the jobs you've held and the responsibilities that go along with those roles.
Your skillset is important, but credibility is built through relationships.
When Quandre Diggs arrived in Seattle via trade in 2019 he'd been in the NFL four years. He came from Detroit where he had been a starter and amassed over 200 carer careers. He was a proven talent but he couldn't walk into the Seahawks locker room and assume the role of a vocal leader. As the sideline reporter for the team, I can tell you he is definitely one of the loudest voices in the locker room and he'll explain how he earned that opportunity in the video clip.
It's a good example to follow for anyone joining a new team or trying to take on a larger leadership role. As Diggs said, "It's knowing where you fit in, but you have to have a realistic sense of where you fit in."
Be willing to do the...
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.
You don't want more communication. What you want is more effective communication, right?
Isn’t that what you actually mean when you tell your team to communicate more?
I’ve worked with a number of clients recently and sat in on a lot of meetings focused on “more communication.” There are a lot of good intentions in that message, but the results of those meetings frustrate my clients most. Inevitably it leads to at least one person sending a meeting request after the meeting and another starting an email chain that takes anywhere from 12-24 emails to resolve.
More meetings and more emails don’t automatically solve communication issues. It feels like you’re taking action, but what’s the point if you’re not actually communicating.
Don’t leave your team hanging on what “effective communication” or “more communication” looks like. It might seem obvious to you. As a leader you’re taking a 30,000...
If you’re already a baseball fan you know the Major League Baseball season is 162 games. That’s just the regular season. It doesn’t count Spring Training games or playoff games. If you’re thinking, “Wow! That’s a lot of games.” You’re right – and that works to your advantage whether you’re a fan a not.
More importantly the baseball schedule works to your advantage regardless as to if you watch the games. Here’s what I want you to be thinking about – connection points and relationship building.
Before we go any further, let me back up a second and set the stage for this type of gameplan. I’ve been part of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast for 15 seasons. It is my job to be at, or watch, most of the Mariners baseball games throughout the year. Baseball is part of my job.
I’m all for more people watching baseball, but I also know it’s not necessary to watch every single game. You can...