Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.
There are a number of conversation skills that impact your ability to be an effective communicator.
Controlling your emotions is one of those skills.
You can be convicted, passionate and well-intentioned but if you can’t control your emotions while conveying those sentiments the message you’re trying to convey will get lost in the emotion you display.
I realize emotions get the best of us sometimes and sometimes you just need to vent and get something off your chest. I also know that whatever you communicate most consistently will shape the perception people have of you and what it’s like to work with you.
For example, If you’re an unbearable jerk after your football team loses, you’re not going to be able to convince colleagues that won’t be your response to a poor outcome at work.
That’s the easy example. Sports always is.
Which is why sports small talk is a good place to practice the conversation skills you need in bigger moments...
The news headlines just keep coming. Thankfully so do the sports headlines. There are times they overlap (i.e. positive COVID-19 tests in the NFL), but there are just as many opportunities to focus on the game, outcome, matchups, big performances, individual efforts, coaching decisions, standings, etc….
Sports can be an outlet, escape and a conversation starter that works in small talk this week.
It’s not just the start of another week, it’s the first work week with NFL games to talk about since February.
I’m not just pointing that out because I’m the sideline reporter for the Seahawks. I make mention of it because the NFL is the most popular sports league in the United States. Football fans are dying to talk about their favorite team, favorite player, coaching decisions and game outcomes. This works to your advantage in two ways:
The sports schedule provides built-in opportunities to stay on the radar and continue building relationships, so do these sports Conversation Starters for the week.
Labor Day isn’t just a holiday for most people it’s also the unofficial end of summer, it traditionally marks the start of school, and it’s the point in time wearing white or seersucker becomes a faux pax. (If you’re into that sort of fashion advice.)
Here’s what else today can do – get you set up for productive small talk the rest of the week. I know your brain is already going in a million different directions. Trying to think of something interesting (or coherent) can be a challenge, especially if you leave it up to chance during small talk. So, don’t. Brush up on these sports headlines and make it easier to think on your feet the rest of the week.
I talk for a living. Most often, I'm talking to athletes as part of my job.
Those conversations look a lot different these days.
There's no face-to-face interactions, no hugs as we welcome each other back for a new season. There are no casual conversations at their lockers while I make my rounds through the locker room.
All media availability is done through video conferencing and most of my personal interactions are limited to waving or shouting "Hello!" across a football field. Those distanced interactions are better than nothing and important during the current state of a pandemic, but I also feel sad and left out.
Face-to-face conversations are one of the ways I stay connected with athletes, and all the people I work with. I can still do my job, but I wonder about the value I can provide without the same type of interactions. There's a loneliness and tension that's creeped in as a result.
I'm not the only one who feels this way. I'm not the only one who's...
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...
Here’s a conversation starter and a challenge… What can you say outside of “good” when responding to the question, “How are you?”
There are literally dozens of words that are more interesting and convey a more genuine emotion than “good.” In addition, your response to “How are you?” directs and guides the conversation.
So, this week challenge yourself to respond with something better than “good.” Ask others about words they’d use in place of “good” and then throw in one of these sports conversation starters.
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.
"What did I miss?"
It's how you might start a conversation that's already in progress and it's an important starting point for every email you send while working from home.
You might think you're at the beginning of a conversation and that your colleague or employee isn't missing anything, but without regular small talk or overhearing conversations at work they're missing pieces of information.
Every email you send is like joining a conversation midstream. Make sure you include details that provide perspective.
Small talk, like every other conversation these days, can feel like a challenge.
Maybe it’s hard for you to talk, or hear someone talking, while wearing a mask. Maybe it’s because every topic has the potential to become politicized.
I know that small talk can build relationships, but I also know sometimes you just need to take a break and avoid extra interactions.
Even if you don’t plan to use these topics in small talk, read through them to build your sports knowledge base.