Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
More isn’t better. Longer conversations don’t lead to better communication. Additional information doesn’t lead to better understanding.
I was guilty of that this week.
My editor and I met to discuss the plan for editing the 32 interviews I completed during my 10 days in Spring Training. It’s a conversation we’ve had every year for the last 10 years and something we’d been talking about for the last month. I thought we were on the same page. I expected a quick, easy conversation and was floored and frustrated when he suddenly had objections.
I couldn’t figure out what changed and why we suddenly felt like adversaries instead of colleagues and friends who can practically read each other’s minds because we’ve worked together for so many years.
And then I saw it. The look on his face and the stack of papers in his hand.
Sports fans inherently know the importance of storytelling. Unless they’re the type who look at the score or the outcome… and nothing else. No highlights. No recaps. No interviews. No social media. No conversations with other fans.
And let’s face, that’s not the way fans consume information.
It’s also not the way you or your colleagues consume information. Even data driven people with a thirst for stats know there’s a story behind the numbers that influences or affects decisions.
Storytelling is hugely important for conveying messages, providing context and influencing people – things all leaders should do.
But there’s a catch.
Storytelling is subjective.
Yet it’s universally accepted the most influential and effective leaders are great storytellers. It’s a requirement that seemingly comes with a moving target unless you start...
Leaders never stop learning.
I’ve always looked at the scholastic or philosophical side of that statement more than the technical or the tactical.
Reading articles, books, or studying the habits of other leaders is what came to mind most often, and then I was forced to learn a new website platform.
I’ve spent countless hours over the last three weeks trying to figure out how to use all the features, adapt what I had been doing to what’s now available and cursing under my breath in frustration because it just shouldn’t be that difficult.
It’s called learning.
And I don’t have as much patience for it as I thought.
The whole experience reminded me that I can read all the articles I want and study other leaders but unless I put myself in position to practice a new skill it won’t actually be something I learn....
Happy Monday! Although depending on who you were cheering for in the Super Bowl (and how long that party lasted) you might be feeling anything but happy.
I totally get it.
Here’s what else I get. Whether you liked the outcome of the game. Agreed with the play calling. Placed bets on who won the coin toss or have already wagered on next year’s odds – the Super Bowl is a huge conversation starter this week.
It’s a sports story, human interest story, entertainment and business news all in one event. If you’re not talking about it, you’re probably missing out on huge opportunities to build relationships… or you’re talking about the other sports topics making news this week.
Projections, plans, implementation strategies are all necessary and important for informing the people you lead, but don’t overlook the importance of providing insight on who they’re following.
That doesn’t happen by handing out your resume or talking about past success. It happens when you tell your story.
I’ll admit I’m not great at this. I’ve never felt it was important or even necessary to tell my story. What’s the point of hearing me ramble when you have your own stories and experiences to draw from?
And then after talking to a number of female leaders I realized I was looking at this the wrong way. Telling my story isn’t about me. It’s about giving others context for their stories and experiences. In other words, it’s a way of showing people they’re not alone.
Great leaders aren’t afraid to pull back the curtain and share personal stories.
And yet selling is sometimes...
If you're starting your week with a holiday then it will likely take a little extra time to get back in the swing of things this week. Any time you change your schedule it can cause you to feel out of sorts - like me all weekend.
It was the first time all season I watched football without a vested interest in who won. (I’m an NFL sideline reporter with the Seahawks and usually working weekends.) I was just watching the games and the commercials – there are a lot of commercials. (There are no commercials in stadium, and I spend every time out working to hear what the coaches are saying.)
Here’s the point – there’s plenty of time to talk while watching games. There’s also a case to be made for not watching games, since it can feel like a large waste of time. It’s one of the reasons I post this list every week.
Whether you like it or not you are part of a team. Even entrepreneurs work with teams of people that require a certain level of teamwork.
You can argue the value of working together on group projects.
You can dislike the team members you’re working with.
Or you can extoll the benefits and importance of teamwork, like the fact that people who work on a team are twice as likely to be engaged at work according to a global study done by the ADP Research Institute.
The teams I work as a sports broadcaster don’t question the value of teamwork because it’s a requirement. Teamwork isn’t a buzz word in sports. It’s not a cliché. Being a good teammate isn’t category on yearly performance review, it’s on display for athletes every single day.
Which means… watching sports can provide insight on how to be a better teammate. Sports is more than stats and scores.
Watching sports with a critical eye reinforces what teamwork actually is...
When I look into the future for 2020 I see sports. Lots of sports.
Although, I suppose that’s true for every year and every decade. Which is why every year I update this handy dandy chart of major sporting events and general sports timelines to track throughout the year.
It’s a habit I developed early in my TV career as a sports producer. I was responsible for generating nightly content and staying on top of upcoming events and having a calendar of events helps with the planning process. So, about this time every year I would literally get out my paper calendar and pencil in sports schedules I needed to follow. I’ve maintained that habit as a blogger and business owner who talks about sports.
This chart helps me track topics for the weekly Conversation Starters blog… AND it helps me plan follow up emails and conversations with sports-loving clients and people in my network.
There are lots of reasons I use sports conversations in business, here are the...
Overwhelm and gratitude. The two seem to be competing emotions this time of year.
And it's no surprise when you think about the 11 months of deadlines, projects, revenue goals, performance reviews you've dealt with. Not to mention, preparing for everything that comes with the holiday season.
It’s okay to scale back your activity level and it’s possible to continue honing your leadership skills at the same time.
Delegate. You don’t have to prepare every meal from scratch, or wrap every single present or complete the holiday errands all by yourself. The best leaders know how to delegate. Practice with your family and friends.
Listen. If you’re usually driving conversations and meetings at work, take a backseat in some of the family conversations. Give yourself space to just listen without feeling...
Most athletes will never make it to the pros. But they can all become leaders.
Despite the amount of money pouring into youth programs and select teams the numbers are stacked against athletes, while being stacked in favor of executive leadership.
According to the NCAA, in most sports less than 8% of high school athletes become NCAA athletes and of those collegiate athletes less than 10% will go pro in their sport. Meanwhile, research conducted by Ernst & Young in 2016 showed a disproportionate number of CEOs played sports when they were younger. In fact, 90% of women surveyed among 821 high-level executives participated in sports.
It’s no coincidence athletes become leaders. Teamwork, collaboration, accountability, communication and the ability to motivate are core competencies of winning teams. It’s true at every level: high school, select, rec-league, college and in the professional ranks.
Leadership qualities show up everywhere in sports which is why...