Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
Among the many headlines I read in the last week this one stands out:
Here’s the basic premise – no chitchat leads to feeling less connected to colleagues, less productivity and reduced social skills.
Small talk is, in fact, critical to business.
It’s one of the reasons I’ve committed to providing weekly sports conversation starters every week for the last 11 years.
Here’s a list of topics you can use this week.
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...
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.
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.
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.
Were you one of the record-number of people who tuned into the virtual NFL Draft?
Were you also among the group of viewers who enjoyed seeing coaches, GMs, players and even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in their own homes?
It’s one of the biggest talking points following a draft that had more suspense around whether or not the technology would work (it did) than the top two quarterbacks in the draft class.
The NFL Draft provided sports-starved fans an outlet and insight they’d never seen. It’s a reminder that sports isn’t just about sports outcomes and work isn’t just about your work product.
Your house might not look like Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Your dog might not get as much attention as Bill Belichick’s but that doesn’t mean co-workers and colleagues don’t want to connect with you on a personal level.
Pull back the curtain a little bit in your small talk. Be willing to chit chat before your calls this week....
We’re going into week four of zero live sports on TV and my husband has decided the new go-to background TV programing is Food Network. Apparently me cooking every day is not entertaining enough. He has never once watched the food prep for his own dinner from start to finish. I digress.
We’re not the only ones changing our viewing habits. Everyone is looking for new things to watch and different things to talk about. Quite a few athletes and sports fans are entertaining themselves with virtual sports and still finding new sports headlines like these to talk about during the week.
Like the kind that happen when you bump into a colleague in the hallway, or the chit chat that takes place in an elevator.
Stay at home and work from home orders have changed the way we operate and the way we think about daily activities and interactions.
In many cases physical distancing has actually increased social connections because we’re all becoming more intentional about reaching out for those conversations and interactions.
Continue reaching out. Find things to talk about. Use sports as a connection point with fans and use these sports #ConvoStarters this week.
I never thought I'd write a weekly blog about sports conversation starters without a single sports event on the calendar, or while social distancing is forcing most people to work from home.
Working remotely, suspending sports seasons, canceling the NCAA Tournament and delaying the start of the baseball season became necessary to combat the Coronavirus pandemic.
So why am I still talking about sports? Because sports fandom doesn't stop just because sports seasons on are hold.
There are still ways to include sports in your weekly conversations. You can read five ways to do that in the full blog.
In addition, small talk doesn't just take place in person. It will still take place before your video conference meetings, when you email colleagues throughout the day and when you text friends to see how they're passing the time at home.
With that in mind, and knowing there's new information seemingly every hour, here are a few sports conversation starters for you to...
The hottest news topic isn’t always the one you want to talk about, even when it seems like that’s ALL anyone is talking about.
The coronavirus dominates our conversations as much as the headlines right now. While it can be helpful to talk through the latest information and comforting to know other people share the same feelings or concerns, engaging in that conversation over and over can also lead to anxiety and increased levels of stress and worry.
Stop having a stressful conversation on repeat by changing your approach to small talk.
If you would rather talk about something else, alter your approach to small talk. Try these three adjustments in the conversations you’re already having both remotely and in-person.
Dial in open-ended questions. You can’t count on anyone else to change the subject so control the direction of the conversation from the outset by asking a more targeted questions. Using “How are you?” or...
The topic dominating headlines isn’t always the best conversation starter.
I mean, how much more do you really want to talk about the coronavirus (And how much more should we say other than, “Please wash your hands.”)
Even with the uncertainty around some sporting events sports makes a great connection point. Look for a new blog post within the next 24 hours on how to direct conversations in more productive directions. For now, use these sports topics whether you’re talking face-to-face or via email.