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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.

Sports Conversation Starters for your Workweek

conversation starters Jul 06, 2020

I can only imagine how different and oddly familiar it will be to walk into a ballpark today for the first time in more than four months.

Everything about the way I do my job as a sports broadcaster is different. I’m guessing you can say the same thing about your job and the changes you’ve experienced since March.

Here’s one thing that hasn’t changed – our need and desire to connect with people. It might not be in person, it might require masks, it might not be in your preferred setting, but connection is important.

Small talk is part of connecting. Sports can (and I’d argue, should be) part of your small talk conversations. Use these headlines to get the ball rolling in those conversations this week.  

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

If there’s a three-day weekend on the horizon, but you’re working from home does it feel any different?

Here’s one way to break out the norm – tune into the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating competition July 4. This annual tradition will take place, but like everything else will look a little different. There won’t be an audience. The competition will take place inside, which means competitors get the advantage of air conditioning, and that might be the edge Joey Chestnut needs to break his own record of 74 hot dogs in 10 minutes. The 12-time champion thinks eating 77 hot dogs is a possibility this year.   

If that doesn’t sound exciting to you, maybe these other conversation starters will float your boat.

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

Usually sports conversations are my outlet. A chance to talk about something other than news. An opportunity to be entertained, and a chance to build relationships with sports fans.

In fact, that’s how I’ve encouraged people to use sports small talk for more than a decade. 

As a sports broadcaster those conversations are also part of my job, and increasingly more stressful because it forces me to consider what happens if sports don’t return. For me sports conversations are less of an outlet and more like a huge reason for concern and worry.

I’ve heard a lot of people say there are bigger things to deal with than sports, and there is truth to that, but there’s also the other side of the coin – without sports a lot of jobs are lost.

Here’s why I’m saying this: there’s more than one point of view to consider. In every conversation. Be careful about being shortsighted in the way you approach small talk.

Just a few...

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

Maybe it’s just me, but there’s nothing like a series of 30-second sprints in the middle of a three-mile run to hammer home just how long 30-seconds is. It doesn’t sound like much time, but it’s more than enough to leave my legs feeling like Jell-O and make me gasp for air.

That same 30-seconds is all it takes to further a business relationship and engage in productive small talk.

Conversations don’t have to be lengthy to make an impact.

Short and sweet can do the trick. Try these sports topics making headlines this week to get the ball rolling.

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

Build relationships before you need them.

I offered that piece of advice to college students starting their careers in sports broadcasting. I can’t only talk to an athlete, coach or executive is when I need something and expect them to open up, share their perspective or give me any answer at all. If I don’t put relationships first they will be more likely to turn and walk the other way when they see me coming instead of giving me a warm greeting and insightful answers.

The need for tough conversations and thoughtful discourse won’t go away. Those conversations can get easier if you build relationships along the way. You don’t have to start with the tough conversation. You can start with small talk.

And those small talk conversations can start with sports, like these topics making news this week.

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

People have different opinions, life experiences, points of view, desired outcomes, reactions and ways of dealing with things.

We see that playing out in different ways around the country.

It takes practice and intentionality to not just talk through differences, but to hear them. 

Practice starts in day-to-day interactions, that involve less stress and less incendiary topics. Practice starts with your small talk and it can start with a sports conversation. Sports fans disagree all the time about unimportant things like a manager’s decision to pinch-hit in the 8th inning,  a play-call on third down, a lead driver pitting with two laps to go in a NASCAR race.

Sports is more than stats and scores. It can be a way to practice listening and disagreeing so that you’re prepared to do that in bigger moments when there are more important things to talk about.

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

Welcome to a holiday Monday!

Although given the current state of work from home schedules, I’m not sure what a holiday weekend means these days. 

Usually I’d remind you these sports conversation starters are great for get-togethers with family and friends. That seems like an unlikely way to spend Memorial Day this year, so I’ll just say these are still interesting talking points for small talk in any conversations you’re having this week, even the ones you might be having with yourself two months into quarantine (Amiright?)

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

Soccer returned in Germany. NASCAR returned in the United States. A few PGA players returned to the course. Sports leagues continue to discuss plans that would allow them to resume play.

It won’t be what fans are used to experiencing, but it will be live sporting events. It could also lead to emotional conversations.

Friendly reminder: When using sports in small talk with colleagues, stay away from politics and other hot-button issues.

Yes, I know there’s an option to go down that path. And you and I both know that if you do that you won’t be furthering a relationship, you could be ending one. You don’t have to like the people you work with, but you do need to find a way to work well with them. It’s your job. Don’t make it any harder by picking fights.

With that in mind, here are a few sports topics you can use in small talk this week.

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Sports Conversation Starters For Your Workweek

NASCAR returns to live racing this week for the first time in more than two months. You don’t have to be a racing fan to appreciate the return of live sporting events.

Sports won’t look the same as they did before the COVID-19 crisis, but fans will still have a desire to connect and talk about races, games, athletes and events.

It’s one reason to stay up to speed on sports topics making headlines. They’ll come in handy when connecting with sports-loving colleagues and making small talk.

Here are a few to keep you in the know.

 

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Sports Conversation Starters for Your Workweek

If you’re measuring the effectiveness of your communication in time instead of understanding you’re not actually communicating. You’re talking to hear yourself talk.

In other words, if you think a longer conversation means you’re a better communicator you need to rethink your KPI or success metrics. 

Short conversations can be more impactful and make you a more effective communicator if you’re intentional about the message you’re conveying and the time you spend listening. 

That’s true for every email, meeting, video conference and small talk opportunity.

You don’t have to spend a lot of time in small talk to make a genuine connection when you’re intentional about how you engage with people.

Here are a few sports topics to help you do that this week.

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