Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
Conversations rarely have all or nothing results, particularly when we’re talking about small talk.
Each exchange gets you a little closer to building a relationship, or communicating a little better, or opening the lines of communication.
Re-setting the expectations for each conversation can help you see short conversations as productive ones. Those interactions can be about sports and these #ConvoStarters can get the ball rolling.
I was about 13 when I wrote a letter to my favorite sportscaster in Houston. I told her how much I loved the work she did and how I thought it would be so cool to talk to players. Much to my surprise, she responded. She was gracious and encouraging of my interest in sports broadcasting but it’s these words that made the greatest impression, “Athlete are people too.”
It was a little puzzling to hear that as a teenager, but it’s a phrase, a statement and a truth that has driven every interaction I’ve had with athletes for 20 years. It’s easy to see athletes as superheroes or super-human based on their talents and abilities, but at the end of the day they’re people.
I’ve heard from plenty of sports fans who want athletes to “stick to sports.” That would be like me telling you to “stick to your job, because what do you know about sports?”
You don’t have to agree with what athletes say. You probably don’t...
There's a reason you’ve probably been told to “keep it simple” at some point. It's a reminder not to overthink or overcomplicate the process or the idea.
The advice gets doled out when making goals you actually want to keep, when problem-solving, presenting new ideas, creating new products and even decorating your house.
Here’s another spot to keep it simple – sports small talk.
Small talk with colleagues is not the time to overthink or prove how much you know. Small should be a relationship building activity. You need to be present and engaged in those moments. Keep the conversation starters simple – that doesn’t mean boring - so you can fully engage in what your colleague is saying instead of coming up with your best retort or comeback.
These weekly sports #ConvoStarters are made for that purpose. There’s just enough information for you to engage in a short conversation that simply helps you build relationships.
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.
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.
Small talk isn’t just about being polite or finding something to say before a meeting starts. It’s the beginning of conversation that could unlock creativity, new ideas or inspiration.
Those are all things that could be lacking while working from home. If you’re missing some of your mojo. If ideas aren’t coming to you as easily as they once did, try having a conversation with someone else. It doesn’t even need to be about work or the problem you’re trying to solve.
One comment can lead to a different thought and a way to unlock your mojo and creativity.
If you’re looking for small talk topics this week, try these sports headlines.
"How’s the weather?"
Anyone living in the Seattle area the last month would tell you it’s rained. A lot. Nearly every single day. Which means if the weather is your go-to topic for small talk you’d be talking about rain. A lot. And having dead end conversations.
Pick a topic that gives you real opportunities to connect, like sports. You can use these topics this 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.
To make sports conversations useful in business, you need to be able to see past the stats and scores. Certainly, the outcomes of games can be conversation starters, but there’s more to talk about and relate to when watching games.
For example, you could:
Of course there’s always using these sports conversation starters to give fans a platform to talk, share and connect this week.
Get a jump start on those New Year’s resolutions by committing to at least one productive small talk conversation a day this week.
What makes small talk productive?
It should allow you to learn something about the person you’re talking to that could be used in a follow up conversation.
Here’s my general rule of thumb: sports works, weather does not. I mean, how many times can you ask about rainy weather, cloudy weather, winter weather… you get my drift.
Here are a few sports topics you can use this week.