Posted on: September 30th, 2010 by Jen Mueller

I spoke at a Young Female Entrepreneurs meeting last night in Redmond, WA.  What a great group of gals!  They asked really good questions about how to make sports conversations work for their businesses, including this one “How do I know if I’m working with a sports fan, particularly if the person is not in my city?”

This situation comes up a lot especially if you work with people across the country, or maybe you work from home and don’t go into an office building.  It’s much easier to pick up on someone’s “fandom” if you have a chance to talk face to face.  Seeing someone on a daily basis gives you a chance to notice if they wear a particular team logo on casual Friday. Or you might observe them talking about certain sport with a group of people.  Those are easy giveaways that you’re working with a sports fan.  But if you’re not in that situation here a few tips.

  1. Take a guess.  You can take a general approach and if you’re working with someone in Washington State ask if they’re a Husky or a Cougar.  Or make it a little more specific, if you happen to be sending emails to a person in Dallas, ask if he or she is a Cowboys fan.  Worse thing they can say is ‘no’ but even in that case there’s a good chance they will give you another good tid-bit of info that you can use to connect on a more personal level.  For example, “Not a fan of the Cowboys, I grew up in Denver so my family always followed the Broncos.” 
  2. Use sports as a starting point, but be ready to switch gears.  Continuing with the same scenario let’s say the response is something like this, “No, I’m not into football, I really like to go camping on the weekends.”  That’s a great piece of information and something you can follow up on during future interactions.  In this example sports was the ice breaker, and it lead you to a valuable piece of information.
  3. Offer a piece of information about yourself. For example “Hope you had a great weekend. I spent most of mine watching football.”  A sports fan will pick up on that info and might ask which team you’re rooting for or which games you watched.  You could also say something like this “I spent all weekend at my son’s soccer tournament. How was your weekend?” 

Unfortunately, Gilda’s had to cancel the event.  Keep tabs on future events on their website.

I’ve got a great way to help break the ice next week and for rest of football season. How about telling your co-workers that you watched Monday Night Football with the Seahawks? Mark your calendars for Monday October 4th and watch Monday Night Football the Seahawk players. They’ll be at Fox Sports Grill in Seattle from 4:30-9:30.  Click here for more information and to register.  You’ll be raising money for Gilda’s Club Seattle which is a non-profit that helps people dealing with cancer.  It is a fantastic organization and one I’m proud to help support.