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

Sports Fandom Your Way

I resisted the urge to say what I really wanted to say after being confronted by a non-sports fan a few weeks ago. Not only was he not a sports fan, but was clearly and vocally irritated at those of us in the bar watching and cheering during a recent college football game.

“You know they can’t hear you, right? There’s no need to yell. Did you even go to that school that you’re cheering for?” 

Instead of pointing out he was in a bar with multiple TVs intended for sports viewing, I turned said, “Actually, our friend right there did go to Stanford and we’re cheering for his alma mater.” There was more muttering and passive aggressive comments about how dumb sports fans are, but few heard what he was saying because we were cheering too loud at the big comeback.

There are a couple things I want to point out from this exchange, starting with the fact it was a guy who was opposed to sports, sports fandom, cheering for sports and sports...

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What a Pick 6 and Your Success Have in Common

business communication Oct 08, 2023

I am all for efficiency. If you’ve ever seen me carry groceries into the house you know the lengths I will go to maximize efficiency and ensure I make just one trip. 

My daily schedule is maximized for efficiency. I don’t like wasted time or the feeling that I’m bouncing around between tasks. I want things streamlined and straightforward.

If you can relate, I want to offer this reminder – your career development and success won’t be as streamlined and straightforward. The highlight of Seahawks rookie Devon Witherspoon and his pick-six during the Monday Night Football game against the NY Giants did a great job of highlighting what success actually looks like. It’s a not a straight line. It’s a zig zag.


Take it from someone who’s career path looks a lot like that interception return, there’s a benefit when things don’t go according to plan. There’s also a way to use football and sports talk in general to...

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It's Not How You Start... it's how you finish

business communication Oct 01, 2023

It’s not how you start… it’s how you finish.

I’ve heard Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll use that phrase countless time over the last 13 seasons. It’s part of his philosophy. A fast start, scoring first, having the lead at halftime can make it easier to win the game, but ultimately it comes down to how the fourth quarter is played.

I couldn’t help but thinking of that phrase during the final week of the baseball regular season. Given the hype, the fast starts and the obvious dominance of a few teams, there’s no way it should have come down to the final two games of the season to determine playoff spots. But it did. Because it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.

When we think outside the box scores, that phrase leads us toward Q4 goals and 2024 planning.

What do you need to finish strong?

Maybe it’s more resources, but it could also be more stamina. Or perhaps it’s fewer weekly meetings so you can create larger...

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Use Sports Small Talk to Build Business Relationships

business communication Sep 03, 2023

Did you see the game last night?

I know it seems forward and maybe a little out of place if you’re unsure the person you’re talking to is a sports fan. But trust me a yes/no sports question really is the best way to strike up a conversation.

It’s also the first step in using sports talk in networking and relationship building. Whether you’re growing your network, prospecting new clients or getting to know new colleagues the key to building relationships and establishing rapport is making consistent connections.

Sports talk can help you do that, and a Yes/No question like “Did you see the game last night?” narrow the focus and give you a starting point. I personally don’t care what the answer is, I just want a direction to take the conversation and craft my follow up interaction.

The next interaction might be about sports, or maybe the conversation branches out. That can happen if  you keep an open mind.

It’s not all about sports,...

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The Best Time to Become a Football Fan is Now

If you, like Julie Andrews, believe the beginning is the very best place to start then this is the very best time to become a football fan or at the very least joining football conversations. (And thank you for indulging my Sound of Music reference.)

The start of every sports season is a good place to start but football season gives you the greatest opportunity to leverage sports conversations and build relationships with football fans.

That’s because football, NFL in particular, is the most popular sport among sports fans in the United States by a wide margin based on yearly Gallup surveys. As a result, you don’t have to go far to find a headline and jump into the conversations.

I find those points compelling, but here are a few others to boost your confidence in becoming a football fan at the beginning of the season. 

It’s a natural starting point. Every team starts with a 0-0 record in Week 1. It doesn’t matter if you watched the preseason games or...

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Thinking Outside the Box Scores - Prepare to Fail

I know the old adage says if you fail to prepare you're preparing to fail, but guess what? You're going to fail anyway. Maybe not at that moment or during that stage of the project, but you're going to fail. We all do, even elite athletes.   

And here's where Thinking Outside the Box Scores can be helpful in reframing your expectations for success.    

As a sports broadcaster I've experienced wins and losses from the sidelines and locker rooms and sometimes even I forget that losing and failing is as much a part of the game as winning. 

It sounds like a silly thing to say as a sports fan. In sports it's a given that a hitter will strike out, a quarterback won't complete every pass, a putt will be off the mark or a jumper will clang off the rim. No athlete expects to be perfect. They all prepare with that intent, but they also expect failure as part of the process. 

Do you do the same thing? Or do you make an assumption that everything can and...

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What I learned about giving feedback as a pageant judge

business communication Jul 01, 2023

The assignment seemed easy and fun when I was asked to be part of a panel of judges for the Miss Washington pageant in 2021.

Then I sat through my first judges’ meeting. About 10 minutes in I started to wonder if I was in over my head and I knew I needed to get better at giving feedback.

It took me a little bit to warm up to the idea of giving feedback to young women who worked so hard to be there. I wanted to encourage everyone and be the “nice judge.” But that’s not how it works. The participants expected feedback and they wanted it. The process wasn’t just about winning it was getting feedback so they could show up with more confidence and be more impactful in their careers and community work.

Being the “nice judge” wasn’t going to help them reach their goals. Giving everyone the same grade was only going to ruin the process.

Here’s the No. 1 rule when judging: Use the full range of numbers.

Scores are based on a scale of 1-10...

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Dealing with Unfair Outcomes (in sports and business)

Sports is entertainment. I get that. I'm a sports broadcaster and a fan. I see the fun side of sports every day, but I also see all the different ways sports helps us make better decisions in our own professional lives.

For example, dealing with outcomes that aren't fair. It sucks. It sucks when you run into bad luck. You know who experiences that more often than you do? Athletes.  

When you watch sports you are watching professional development in real time. Athletes are professionals. They're building their skillset right in front of you and one of those skillsets is dealing with bad luck and outcomes that aren't fair. 

Here are the two things I see athletes do most often in those situations:

1. Acknowledge it sucks. Be honest with your feelings. They definitely commiserate with each other in the locker room or clubhouse. 

2. Evaluate their effort. It won't change the outcome, but when an athlete has done everything they can to prepare and execute in that moment...

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Getting Better at Giving Feedback

business communication Jun 11, 2023

You mean well. It's said with the best intent. Which is why it feels like you’ve been blindsided when it backfires.

Giving false praise leads to confusion, fall out, and challenges in giving feedback.

Every time you say "Great job!" when what you should have said was "Thank you for getting the job done" you set yourself up to fail in future conversations. 

Those are the hard hitting facts right out of the gate, but I'm willing to bet most of us default to saying "Great job!" throughout the day, but do you mean it? Was it really a great job? Did that person go above and beyond? Or did they do the job they were hired to do?

I could keep writing words to describe what I'm talking about, but I think it would be more helpful to watch the video because sports gives us a very clear picture of what accurate praise and feedback sounds like. 

Let me just reiterate that you don't do anyone any favors by giving false praise.

I remember a well-meaning stadium employee who was...

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A Win is a Win

You know what a sports fan, athlete or coach will never say?  "That was a bad win."   

Never. You will never ever hear them say that. Why? Because a win is a win. You don't put an asterisk next to it. You don't make excuses. You accept the win.   

So why don't YOU do that at work? Instead of thinking of this phrase as a sports cliche, look at it as an opportunity for self-reflection and bigger conversations at work.

As I mentioned in the video there are certain ways we want to show up in business that reflect our brand and our values. I'm not suggesting you win at all costs. I do want you to be better about acknowledging and taking responsibility for your success. Here are three easy ways to do that. 

1. Find attainable wins. If everything is a stretch goal, a monumental task or something that requires max effort it's really tough to stack wins. Here's an example of an attainable win, saying hello and hearing it in response. I do this all the time...

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