Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
As we think about connecting in real life again, resuming networking habits, or maybe refining that podcast you started in the last year. Remember this: Curiosity doesn’t replace preparation.
Curiosity alone doesn’t lead to a great conversation or even a productive one if you didn’t take the time to get curious before the conversation started.
Spend a few minutes to consider things like:
How do you know this person? Are you familiar with them or do you need to do a little research?
What’s happened in the time since last talking to them? Think about what could have happened in their industry, with their job or in the world in general so you can bring empathy, understanding and perspective to the conversation.
What are you hoping to get out of the conversation? Identify the objective before you start talking so you know where the conversation needs to go.
What needs to happen for it to be a successful conversation? Drill down and get a little more specific on...
"How are you?"
In "normal" times it's the appropriate thing to say when starting a conversation and part of the script we follow by default.
These days, that question is asked with sincerity and best intentions, but I'm willing to wager the answers fall short of expectations.
"How are you?" is the equivalent of me, a sports broadcaster, striking up a conversation with a player by saying, "Tell me about the game." I fully expect the athlete to look at me, shrug and then say, "What part of the game do you want me to tell you about? The beginning, the middle, the end, the role I played, the effort of my teammates, the adjustments we made because of the opponent?"
(If he or she doesn't do that, they're being far too polite, because that is a terribly unprepared way for a reporter to start a conversation with an athlete.)
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.
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...