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I'M ONE TO TALK

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

The Hot Mic Moment I Didn't Mind at All

business communication May 14, 2022

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...

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Learn from a Leader: Emotional Bandwidth

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...

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Learn from a Leader: Finding Your Voice

Your resume is a reflection of your skill level, not your leadership ability.

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...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

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.  

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More Communication Isn't Better... or Helpful

business communication Apr 21, 2022
 

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...

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5 Ways to Use the Baseball Season to Your Advantage

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...

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Learn from a Leader: Leading Strong Personalities

Strong personalities can be an asset for any team. Often those team members are driven, ambitious, competitive and confident in their skills. They want to forge ahead and are always looking for ways to win. 

It's not hard to see where they stand, but they can present challenges for leaders. 

There's probably a specific person who comes to mind (it might even be yourself) when you think about a "strong personality" at work, but for right now let's look at a different type of workplace environment - an NFL locker room. 

I've worked in NFL locker rooms for more than 20 years. I've worked closely with the Seattle Seahawks as their sideline reporter for 13 seasons. I know from personal experience and observation that the personalities in an NFL locker room more closely resemble your team at work than you realize. There are introverts, extroverts, easy-going guys and strong personalties. 

Effectively managing strong personalities is critical for creating buy-in. That's...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

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.  

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Already a Sports Fan? Here's what you need to know about talking sports

It’s interesting the assumptions we make about sports fans. From what we think a sports fan looks like to how they should sound in a conversation. To me, the most interesting assumption is that sports fans don’t need any help in talking about sports.

Just because you know sports doesn’t mean you’re using it to your advantage – or in a way that won’t alienate others at work.

I frequently see articles or resources on how to talk sports if you’re not a sports fan. Heck, I’ve been quoted in those articles, written books and created resources around that. There’s an assumption that if you’re already a fan you don’t need help talking about sports, but there are things you’re missing. 

As a lifelong sports fan and a 22-year sports broadcasting veteran I talk sports for a living and spend a lot of time around people who enjoy sports and talk sports. For as much as I enjoy those conversations, most of the...

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Talk Sporty 101: Include Everyone

 

Sports brings communities together in ways other interests can't. That's the real value of sports conversations and sports small talk. 

Sports allows you to connect with people from all different backgrounds, young and old, male and female... but only if you include everyone in your conversations. 

It's easy to make assumptions about what you think sports fans look like. Men, for example. I bet you're more likely to assume men are sports fans. Which also means you're more likely to exclude women from sports conversations. As a woman who has worked in sports broadcasting for more than 20 years I know that's not that's not the case. I also know that when I'm excluded from a sports conversation based on my gender I get irritated and I'm not interested in connecting or building relationships. Not a big deal if we just meet in passing, but much bigger deal if you want to work with me, or if you're a server at a restaurant and would like a tip.

I shouldn't have to tell you I...

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