Give Yourself a Sporting Chance

Posted on: June 11th, 2018 by Jen Mueller

It’s another workweek and another batch of sports conversation starters, but also it’s a reminder that not all conversations go according to plan.

I’ve had a few exchanges in the last week that had me questioning my status as an “Expert Talker.” A couple were awkward, another was unproductive, and yet another had me over-thinking the words I actually said.

As much as I don’t want to have those types of interactions, they happen from time to time. Here’s what you need to remember – once you have established rapport with someone, the relationship helps smooth over the rough edges of a less than perfect exchange.

I’m not going to get it right all the time, neither are you, which is why it’s important to build relationships with colleagues and have conversations throughout the week, not just when you need to talk to them.

It’s one of the reasons you should be using these sports ConvoStarters and making small talk at work this week.

Make sports talk easier by signing up to get these #ConvoStarters delivered right to your inbox every Monday. Leave your name in the box marked “Let’s Do This!” and you’ll be sports savvy by 7am every Monday. 

Talking Your Way Into Totally Cool Things

Posted on: June 8th, 2018 by Jen Mueller

Talking on the phone may become a prized ability that gives people a leg up in their careers. That was the conclusion of a recent article on the death of voicemail and the impact that has on business communication.

There’s no question emails, texts and other messaging services change the way information is exchanged, but there’s also no substitute for the real thing – which is the message I delivered recently to a group of middle school students in the Seattle area. Email serves a purpose. There’s a time for text messages and social media apps, but if you really want to prepare for your future put the phone down. Look up from your computer screen and have an actual conversation. That’s how you talk your way into really cool things and it can be done in these six steps:

Be Willing to Talk

It’s hard for people to recognize your rockstar skills if they don’t know you or anything about you.

Put the phone down, and show a willingness to engage in a conversation.

Smile, be pleasant and be available to talk.

Have Something to Say

Once you’ve committing to having a conversation make sure you have something to say.

Start with something easy, like “Hi.” You don’t need to overcomplicate the introduction or the ice-breaker, but you do need to be prepared with something to keep the conversation going.

Choose Your Words Carefully

The way you describe a situation, person, outcome or event says a lot about you. Choose your words carefully.

Remember, people who are getting to know you and haven’t had many interactions with you are looking for clues on who you are and what you’re like. Don’t give them the wrong impression.

Surprises Happen

Sometimes surprises happen, like a Gatorade bath during a post-game interview!

Don’t avoid a conversation because you don’t know what will happen in the end.

In other words, don’t douse your chance to do really cool things.

Sometimes You’ll Feel Silly

What if you sound silly? What if the other person laughs at you? What if you ask a silly question?

There are a lot to “what-ifs” that can derail a conversation before we even get started. Don’t psyche yourself out worrying about something that hasn’t happened, and probably won’t happen.

Know What Makes You Awesome

Among the things you should be prepared to tell someone is what makes you awesome. You don’t need to brag, but you do need to be able to highlight what you do well and identify the really cool opportunity you’d like to have.

People can’t read your mind. Give them a clue so they can help you out.

When I finished the talk a student raised her hand and asked this question: “What can any of us do right now to make sure we’re prepared for our career and all the really cool things?”

My answer, start talking and keep talking. The way you present yourself and handle daily interactions will set you apart from everyone else.

It’s true for middle school students and it’s true for you.

If you’d like more ways to demonstrate leadership potential using your daily interactions pick up a copy of my latest book, The Influential Conversationalist and sign up for the monthly Practicing Leadership email.

Jen Mueller is a veteran sports broadcaster and a rock star keynote presenter. Nearly 20 years spent in professional sports locker rooms gives her a unique take on business communication and conversation skills. Hire Jen for your next event or conference Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com 

When Talking too Much is the Key to Reaching Your Dreams

Posted on: June 6th, 2018 by Jen Mueller

I never thought I’d be where I am today in my career. Come to think of it, there are several people I’ve encountered during my life who didn’t think I’d be here either  – and they told me so.

In some ways I don’t blame them. When I went to college getting a broadcasting degree wasn’t difficult, but convincing someone to take a chance on hiring a woman who wanted to be a sports broadcaster was an obstacle.

Looking back everything fell into place just as it was supposed. Even the comment that I thought was so damning as a kid, being told I talked too much, proved to be a valuable asset.

It’s all part of the process and I’m thankful for the journey.

I recently shared those thoughts with Cletus Coffey on his Recovering Athlete podcast. Here’s what he said about our conversation:

It’s easy to see Jen Mueller on TV and think, “wow she is so lucky!”

Each fall season she is on the football sidelines rubbing elbows with and interviewing the players and coaches from the Seattle Seahawks. In the spring and summer, she is doing the same with the Seattle Mariners.

Jen has a career many sports fan would love to have.

However, what you do not see on TV was the process, the obstacles, and huge barriers she had to endure to be in the position to bring fans up close and personal with Seattle’s most popular teams.

On her journey to the sidelines she was told she wouldn’t ever make it because she wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough, and that women do not belong on the football field.

She didn’t listen. Instead, she kept on talking.

Take a listen and share your story. I’d love to hear how the thing you thought was your greatest weakness turned into a huge strength. You can subscribe to the Recovering Athlete podcast right here and leave your name in the box marked “Let’s Do This!” to stay in touch with me on a regular basis.

Jen Mueller is a sports broadcaster and rockstar keynote speaker. She’s a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team and the sideline radio reporter for the Seattle Seahawks. Jen uses her experience in sports and professional lockerrooms as her basis for a unique take on business communication. Hire Jen to speak at your next event: Jen@TalkSportytome.com.

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