I spent Monday afternoon volunteering at golf tournament benefiting Gilda’s Club Seattle. There were several Seahawks in attendance and other athletes past and present. I was talking to one of the current Hawks players when a former NFL player jumped into the conversation. The former player sized up the ‘competition’ and fired a series of questions at the current player.
“What position do you play?” “How much do you weigh?” “Aren’t you a little small?” “Where did you go to school?” “What was your record in college?” “How long have you been in Seattle?”
All of those questions are legit, but the rapid fire delivery was more than a little uncomfortable for the rest of us. Not only that, but it didn’t lead to very good answers from the current player. It was short, choppy and rude. A classic example of how you can ruin a perfect opportunity to talk sports and get to know someone. Those questions could have led to a great conversation, but the attitude of the former player got in the way. He was so busy trying to tell stories about ‘back in my day,’ he missed an opportunity to get to know the person he was talking to.
Remember that the next time you’re on a business lunch, meeting with a client or on a date. Good conversation flows between people it’s not one-sided, uncomfortable or a show of how much you know. It can be fun to show off, but it’s not going to get the deal done. People enjoying working with folks they know, like and trust. The same goes for dating. Do you really want to listen to someone who talks ‘at’ you instead of ‘to’ you? Ask all the questions you want, just make sure that you’re listening to answers and taking steps toward creating a good relationship.