Sports Watch and Talk: Say it Better

Posted on: June 21st, 2018 by Jen Mueller

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.

Task

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 

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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