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

5 Conversation Skills Great Leaders Master – Webinar Series

leadership Aug 24, 2019

Leaders know leadership doesn’t come through a title. It’s your ability to influence people that makes you a leader.

That type of leadership starts with the way you handle 1-on-1 interactions which is why Jen is bringing back 5 Conversation Skills Great Leaders Master.

The strategies in this series are:

Practical. Jen based them on the same ones she uses every day in sports and business conversations

Efficient. They take just 15-seconds to implement because Jen doesn’t have time to waste on TV and neither do you!

Results-driven. You’ll see skyrocketing improvement in the way team members respond and your overall productivity.

Register here for just $45! Can’t join live? No problem; it’s recorded. 

We’ll cover ways to:

1. Share success without bragging so you can better negotiate for yourself.

2. Deliver clear instructions without sounding bossy.

3. Motivate team members to take the “right” next...

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Mentorship Moments: The Importance of Relationships…and Doug Baldwin

leadership mentorship Aug 14, 2019
Holding a microphone doesn’t guarantee an interview.

Being a reporter doesn’t mean people will talk to you.

And even when you do secure an interview and get someone to talk – there’s no assurances they’ll make you look good. Every time I ask a question there’s an opportunity for an athlete to contradict me, correct me or just make me look bad. It’s why I spend so much time building relationships and why I’m especially grateful when they are intentional about making me look good – even when I ask a terrible question.

That’s how former Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin and I became friends.

My first interview with Doug took place during preseason his rookie year. I lost my train of thought during a question, tried to recover, but ended up stumbling around and spitting out something that in no way resembled a good question.

I knew it was a disaster.

I braced myself for his response… which was brilliant.

He answered...

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3 Ways Leaders Support Other Leaders – Advice from Seahawks Linebacker K.J. Wright

leadership seahawks Aug 06, 2019

Leadership doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s not a solo proposition.

The best leaders recognize buy-in and support is critical for success, which is why they actively seek ways to support other leaders within an organization. It’s what K.J. Wright does inside the Seahawks locker room because great leaders are good followers. They understand the importance of backing decision-makers.

Great leaders are good followers.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is the ultimate decision-maker for the guys inside the Seahawks locker room. But the team is only as successful as individual players and leaders inside the locker room allow.

Leaders don’t have to be the ones calling the shots to take on a leadership role.

The same is true in your work environment. A CEO is only as effective as his or her leadership team allows. Winning requires support from other leaders.

K.J. Wright shared his approach to that responsibility in the locker room when he was a featured leader for...

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Feeling Guilty for Taking Time Off? Don’t.

leadership vacation Aug 04, 2019
So much for feeling guilty about time off last month – or the fears that went along with it.

Turns out the fears were unfounded and the time away was needed for the craziness that ensued after my return.

I haven’t had time to post my best vacation photos yet. I’ve given six presentations in the last two weeks, incorporated the start of Seahawks training camp into a schedule that already includes daily Mariners television coverage. (Pro Tip: the best way to beat jet lag is to keep yourself busy enough you don’t have time to be tired.)

Here’s why I’m especially grateful for the frantic pace the last couple weeks – because going on vacation stirs up a lot of insecurities. I worry that taking an extended break will kill my mojo and somehow reflect poorly on me. It sounds ridiculous, but I don’t think I’m the only entrepreneur or driven professional who experiences the worry and guilt of a vacation.

See if any one of these...

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Building Relationships with Introverts – A Story from Inside the Seahawks Locker Room

 

Persistent and strategic.

If those two words don’t describe the way you approach networking, meeting new people or developing business relationships you need a more focused strategy – especially when you meet introverts.

Being outgoing, bubbly, assertive or direct can come across as a very “in your face” approach. It can also be a huge turnoff to a introvert who doesn’t talk much and keeps a tight circle of friends or business contacts.

There are introverts in sports. Lots of ’em. I encounter them in every locker room. And the approach I use in building relationships with an introvert is very different than how I approach extroverts.

Just last season I had to build a relationship with a shy, introverted, Seahawks rookie named Poona Ford. Poona had no interest in talking to me, so I didn’t even try. I talked to the players in his area of the locker room for a few weeks before I actually introduced myself.

If someone...

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Practicing Leadership – By Taking a Break

leadership vacation Jul 17, 2019

Being overworked doesn’t make you the hardest working person in your office.

Exhaustion and stress reduce your effectiveness at work. The resulting “busyness” is just that.

Sometimes you need a break.

Studies have shown even short vacations improve your health, focus, sleep and reaction time. In other words, a vacation from work helps you be a better leader.

In fact, Seattle Mariners manager Scott Servais forced starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi to take a short vacation from work at the beginning of the month. Kikuchi has a tendency to throw a lot between starts. When his extra work started to produce diminishing returns, Servias created a schedule that didn’t allow him to throw for two days. When Kikuchi return to his throwing program, the difference was noticeable. There was more life on the ball and a different energy around the pitcher. Taking a break increased his results.

Don’t confuse productivity for busyness and don’t think you can...

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Practice Your Response, Not Your Reaction Time

leadership Jul 10, 2019

Emotions run high in sports. Whether it’s the thrill of victory or the crushing blow of defeat emotion drives reactions from fans, coaches and players. It’s natural. It’s also another reason “fan” is short for fanatic.

It’s one thing to react to sports outcomes but if it carries over into the workplace it will be one of the things that detracts from being seen as a leader.

Media today loves a good “hot take.” There are entire shows developed around guests/hosts who stir the pot and say the most immediate emotional thing that comes to mind.

Leaders don’t give hot takes.

Great leaders recognize formulating a thoughtful response is more effective in getting a point across, creating buy-in or providing feedback.

Great leaders see the bigger picture. They understand how an emotionally charged rant can burn bridges, damage relationships and hurt their effectiveness.

Do you?

If you’re more prone to react to a situation keep...

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Summer Blog Reading List – Best of Talk Sporty to Me

leadership Jul 02, 2019

We’re past the halfway point of the year which means it’s not only time to re-evaluate your yearly goals, but reconsider how your conversation skills can help you reach your goals. It’s something I said at the begining of the year and it’s worth repeating. Your conversation skills determine your success. Period. End of story. If you can’t effectively explain your ideas, ask for help, talk through challenges and generate buy-in you won’t be able to reach your goals.

Whether you’re on track to reach your goal or coming up short, the conversation skills shared throughout the year on the Talk Sporty to Me blog can help. Here are my Top 5 Blog Posts for your summer reading list.

  1. Conversations are not the place to show off your multi-tasking skills. Trying to communicate a laundry list of items at the wrong time might feel like you’re getting things done, but if you leave your colleague with his spinning the conversation wasn’t...
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You “Can” Succeed, But Do You “Want” To?

leadership Jun 28, 2019

Success in any situation starts with your attitude – and your want to.

Which is why Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” A positive attitude and belief in yourself is great (and necessary)  but here’s the next question you should ask:

Do you want to succeed?

Having the confidence to succeed is different than having the willingness to succeed. Wanting to succeed means you’re looking for ways to win in every situation and it changes the way you approach conversations and interactions with colleagues.

  • Do you want conversations to go smoothly, or do you expect them to be contentious and confrontational?
  • Do you want to spell things out and make the details of a project clear to colleagues, or would you prefer to keep them in the dark so you can control the situation regardless of how it affects the people you work with?
  • Do you give colleagues the benefit of the doubt when you talk to them, or do you assume...
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The Truth About “Team Wins”

High performing teams need separation and silos – in moderation.

Here’s the thing about team wins – they’re a result of different people and different groups of people executing their expertise. Maybe it’s the offense delivering five home runs to back a great pitching performance. It could be the defense coming up with a big stop after the offense rallied to score late. Then there’s the 18 points scored by the reserve off the bench after the starter got hurt in the first half.

In sports we recognize there are different positions, skill sets and expertise. In business we’re quick to call them silos and even quicker to try and eliminate them.

Here are few reasons silos form in locker rooms:

Function/purpose. Your role determines the people you talk to most. For example: Position groups in football versus the departments in your office. If you work in payroll you spend more time talking to people in payroll by function of your...

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