I’ve got a couple friends in town for the holiday weekend. Last night we were talking over a glass of wine and the conversation turned to Talk Sporty to Me. My friend Tiffany confessed that she hadn’t visited my website although her husband Shaun had checked it out and started asking all sorts of questions. Tiffany made the comment that she doesn’t like sports enough to follow it on a daily basis. That’s when I whipped out my 5 step checklist and proceeded to explain that it’s not just about sports. We don’t talk rules, stats or numbers at a TSTM. It’s about communication skills and finding a “common denominator,” which you can easily do that with minimal effort on your part. Start with reading a headline – it could be from the sports page, the front page or the entertainment section. All you need is a tidbit of information and you’re off and running. As I explained to Tiffany, she doesn’t have to watch the entire game or even watch Sports Center with her husband. Just knowing if the Mariners won or lost is enough of a conversation starter. And if you don’t feel comfortable talking about the game, steer the conversation toward something you do feel comfortable with. Take this imaginary conversation for example:
Tiffany: “Looks like it was another tough loss for the Mariners yesterday. Did you see the game?”
Me: “No, I heard about it, but didn’t get a chance to see it.”
Tiffany: “Were you out doing something fun?”
Me: “Yeah, I had the day off so I got a couple errands done and then went into Seattle to check out Pike Place and hang out.”
Tiffany: “We were just there too! Aren’t the flowers gorgeous?”
Me: “I love getting flowers down there, and of course there are about 5 other places I have to check out when I’m at the market.”
Tiffany: “Which spots do you hit?”
This conversation could go on and on, and outside of the first question, it has nothing to do with sports. You can have this kind of conversation with your co-workers and find out a lot of information about their likes and dislikes. That simple dialogue goes a long way in sending a message that you’re interested in what your co-worker does, and what he or she has to say is important. Your co-worker will feel valued, and enjoy working with you because you took the time to invest in their interests. That leads to better relationships and more success in the workplace because people work better when they know, like and trust their co-workers.
So don’t worry about having to become a sports fanatic. It’s not necessary because TSTM isn’t just about sports.