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

5 Ways to Disagree Like An Adult

I originally posted this blog three years ago when it felt like “hot takes” were all the rage on TV. No one wanted to listen, and everyone wanted to yell.

Things haven’t changed all that much, but they should because listening is a leadership skill, as is controlling your emotions, showing empathy and knowing how to disagree like an adult.

I understand there’s a lot going on in the world. The stress and uncertainty can be overwhelming. Emotions are running high.

Great leaders don’t allow their emotions to make an already emotional situation more difficult.

Conflict happens in conversations. Disagreements happen and differing opinions exist. So does a better way of handling those situations.

I talk for a living. I actually talk sports for a living. But more importantly I talk to human beings for a living. After nearly two decades in sports, I’m well-practiced at asking questions, assessing the environment and engaging in conversations. I...

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5 Ways to Ask for Help (When you don't know how)

I’m here if you need me.

You know you can reach out anytime.

Let me know how I can help.

We’ve all said things like this with the very best intentions and we’ve heard our friends, colleagues and business contacts say the same thing back to us.

And yet, when we actually could use a little help we’re hesitant to reach out partly because it’s a vulnerable ask especially if the help we need is pulling ourselves out of a funk or getting past strong emotions during a pandemic.

How do you even start the conversation when you’re already overwhelmed, sad or frustrated. You’d like to know you’re not alone without feeling rejected if you don’t get a response. You certainly don’t want to impose on someone and add to their stress levels.

Here are ways to initiate a conversation when you need help, support or just a quick pick-me-up.

5 Ways to Ask for Help When You Don’t Know How 

Revisit a previous experience/conversation. ...

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Practicing Leadership: How do you Talk to Yourself?

“Are you talking to yourself again?”

I’ve lost track of the number of times my husband has asked that question during quarantine.

It’s something I do when problem-solving or trying to remember something. I usually ignore him because there’s no pretending I’m not carrying on a full-blown conversation with myself.

But there is something I won’t ignore anymore the use of certain phrases that should be canned from how we describe what’s happening right now – unprecedented and new normal.

My background as a TV producer leads to me believe emails have been sent from executive producers to writers and producers across the country telling them not to use those words or phrases. (That happens occasionally when words get overused and lose their meaning or aren’t providing an actual description of anything.)

Let’s be honest, by this point we recognize we have all experienced something unexpected that will reshape the way we do...

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Big Conversations Take Practice. Start Small.

The world needs a lot of things right now. 

The most important of which might be communication skills. Not the ability to talk, but the ability to truly communicate, engage in discourse, listen to people with different viewpoints and seek common ground. 

Communication skills have never been more important. 

It will take big, difficult, awkward, emotional and thoughtful conversations to spark change. If you're not ready to jump into those kinds of conversations - don't opt out altogether, start small. 

There are ways to practice the skills you need for big moments. I suggest trying sports conversations. The video explains why. 

 

 

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Communicating in Times of Certainty - Reminders from the NFL Draft

This week the NFL will releasing the entire 2020 schedule with the expectation the full season will be played and will start on time. Of course, there are contingencies in place if the COVID-19 crisis forces changes, but for right now fans can start looking ahead, getting excited for rivalry weekends and anticipating the debut of a new class of rookies.

Without even taking the field, the 2020 NFL Draft class has been part of NFL history by being the first (and perhaps only) class to be selected during an entirely virtual draft.

As the sideline reporter for the Seattle Seahawks and the founder of Talk Sporty to Me, I look for business parallels in the sporting events and press conferences I cover.

Talk Sporty to Me isn’t about clichés and metaphors, it’s about making sports fandom useful in business, relationship building and communication.

With that in mind, here are five quick takeaways from my experience as part of the Seahawks draft coverage and broadcast team...

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Stop Comparing Virtual Meetings to Face-to-Face Interactions

Stop comparing virtual interactions to real-life, in-person conversations. They’re not the same thing.

Video conferencing, virtual happy hours and online training might be the next best thing to meeting in person, but they are not the same thing. There’s a big difference and big problem with making that assertion. Insisting video conferencing is “just like” face-to-face interactions discredits the feelings of exhaustion and fatigue that accompany virtual interactions. 

If you go into the day thinking you’re going to have a conversation instead of preparing to be on camera, you’re setting yourself up for burn out, fatigue, exhaustion and frustration. 

Take it from someone who’s been on camera and on TV for the last 14 years. I’m a sports broadcaster based out of Seattle. My colleagues and I can tell you from personal experience being on camera every day can be emotionally and mentally draining.

Communicating in a virtual...

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Conversation Fail - More Information Isn't Better

More isn’t better. Longer conversations don’t lead to better communication. Additional information doesn’t lead to better understanding.

Unnecessary details in a conversation can just as easily create confusion as clarity.

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.

...

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Storytelling in Leadership Starts with These Questions

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.

A good story isn’t universal. What resonates with one person might not land with another.

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...

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4 Ways Leadership Skills Show Up When Learning New Things

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.


You can know something without it being a learned behavior or habit. For that to happen, you need to actually do the thing. 


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.

...
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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Work Week

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.

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