If you want people to listen to what you say and take action, consider how your audience hears the conversation.
If you ask a stupid question. You’ll get a stupid answer – or worse, you’ll get an answer that makes you look unprepared, unqualified and incapable of doing your job.
It sounds harsh, but in a world of lazy communication and poor communication, this happens all the time. You’ve probably rolled your eyes in a few business meetings because of the way a colleague asked a question or presented information. You might have made snarky comments about a sports reporter doing a post-game interview and wondered why they asked a such a dumb question.
It’s easy to spot in others. Are you aware enough to notice it in your own conversations?
Here’s where watching sports can help increase self awareness and your communication skills.
Sports Watch and Talk
Listen to postgame interviews with a more critical ear. Pay attention to the questions being asked and the way a player or coach responds. First, determine if the question generated an answer that provided information. Secondly, decide how you might answer the same question. Third, if your reaction to a question like, “How does it feel to win a championship?” is, “What kind of question is that? How do you think it feels!” come up with a better way to ask a question that gets less of a “No shit, Sherlock” response.
Use postgame interviews as a reminder to apply the same critical ear to the conversations you have at work. Think about a conversation you plan to have in the next couple days. Say it out loud, start with the same point of reference, avoid no-duh questions and make sure you can not only say the words, but that they are the right ones to say.
This is one of the conversation strategies provided in The Influential Conversationalist, an entire book written on developing leadership potential through daily interactions. You don’t have to have a specific title to be considered a leader. You can lead right where you are in your career, starting by how you approach conversations with colleagues. Pick up your copy of The Influential Conversationalist on Amazon.
Jen Mueller is a veteran sports broadcaster and a rock star keynote presenter. Jen takes an outside the box approach to business communication based on nearly 20 years spent in sports locker rooms. She is a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team and the sideline radio reporter for the Seattle Seahawks. Hire Jen for your next event: Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com