Because you’ve been busy… ICYMI from Talk Sporty

Posted on: April 23rd, 2019 by Jen Mueller

Have you ever stopped to consider the importance of relatability in your career?

Being exceptional at your job is one thing.

Being able to understand and relate to the people around you is what allows you to be effective at doing your job.

The best leaders know how to relate to the people they’re leading.

After all, a leader who can’t relate (and doesn’t even try) is more like the dictator type don’t you think?

Sports is one of the ways leaders (and you!) can relate to the people around you.

If you’re already a sports fan make sure you’re not overlooking potential sports fans you could be talking to.

For example, do you refrain from talking sports with women but assume all guys are sports fans? Do you think of football fans as “true” sports fans while forgetting about the triathletes in your office?

Here’s my note and reminder to you: watch out for biases that show up in small talk and sports talk. Keep an open mind in your small talk conversations and use them to build relationships and increase your relatability.

If you’re not a sports fan here are three way to build your sports knowledge base:

  1. Read sports headlines.
  2. Pick a local team to follow.
  3. Focus on one player.

And if you’re not interested in the game or sport itself perhaps you’d like to talk about these topics that pair well with sports: travel, food and fan experience. (The full blog is here.)

Lastly, one conversation doesn’t solve all your problems or get things done at work. Plan to have more than one conversation with colleagues because success requires more than one action. Follow up strategies aren’t just for sales and networking they are for everyday conversations.

Speaking of every day conversations – you’ve got a chance to talk to a leader and learn how to approach conversations with colleagues, clients and yourself. Karen Phelps Moyer is an serial entrepreneur and philanthropist.

She should probably add badass to her resume, and she joins me May 23 for the next online leadership development training session. Register here to take advantage of the early bird rate.

Don’t Make This Mistake in a Business Conversation – Choosing the Wrong Starting Place

Posted on: April 3rd, 2019 by Jen Mueller

Years ago, one of the presentation decks I used started with a red dot on the first slide. That was it. Just a red dot. Big enough that you could see what it was, but without any context for the audience. The second slide revealed the full picture, and the audience discovered they were looking at a bullseye.

Those slides helped underscore the importance of context, perspective and starting from the same point of reference. It was obvious to everyone in the room what the red dot was when I flipped back to the first slide, but only because they were all on the same page and had just seen the same thing.

Just like with the bullseye, sometimes we lose sight of the bigger picture and the fact that not everyone is seeing or hearing things the same way we are. It’s obvious that looking at a red dot without any context is confusing, but are you aware of how often that happens in conversations?

When get dialed in and focused, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that everyone else isn’t in the same place. They haven’t been problem-solving the client issue that came up this morning. They don’t feel compelled to take immediate action on what was discussed in the staff meeting. They aren’t obsessed with email discussion that’s gone around the office.

Everyone is in to their own thing. So, you can’t assume people are starting from the same point of reference in a conversation. If you do, you could be adding to the confusion and communication breakdowns at work.

Take a look at the video and see what my shoes and Gatorade have to do with this conversation, then consider how to give colleagues the context and perspective they need to have a productive conversation.

Effective communicators avoid confusion by starting from the same point of reference. You can do that by verbally referencing a previous conversation or situation. Click To Tweet


Key Takeaway:

Effective communicators avoid confusion by starting from the same point of reference.

Jen Mueller is a badass at business communication. She’s spent nearly 20 years in sports broadcasting and knows what effective communication sounds like. Her experience in professional locker rooms provides a unique take on business communication. Jen is a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team and the sideline radio reporter for the Seattle Seahawks. Hire Jen to speak for your next conference, event or training. Email: 


What Harvard researchers discovered about small talk

Posted on: March 14th, 2019 by Jen Mueller

According to a team of Harvard researchers asking follow-up questions and being authentic is the best way to get the most out of small talk.

Did it really take a team of Harvard researches to figure that out?

The same researchers contend that sports isn’t an effective small talk topic because the conversation doesn’t go anywhere.

Really?! Or could it be that Harvard researchers don’t know how to ask follow-up questions about sports with any level of authenticity?

Conversations count – if you allow them to. Asking “How are you?” without any intent of listening to the answer isn’t a conversation worth having.

Small talk isn’t all about you. It’s about developing rapport, trust and the type of relationships that make it easier to get work done.

Harvard researchers might like these tips from the blog, and so will you!

3 Reasons to stay focused and avoid multi-tasking IN small talk at work. Just because you’ve got someone’s attention does not mean you should run through the laundry-list of things you’d like to talk about.

5 Mantras That Matter in a Business Conversation. You can either psych yourself up or psych yourself out of talking to people. I needed the mantras when meeting dozens of new players in the Mariners clubhouse during Spring Training.

Few people like conflict, but if you avoid tough conversations because you hope they’ll go away, you’re only prolonging the inevitable and making the situation worse. Don’t make this mistake.

One more thing, if you haven’t already registered for the first Learn from a Leader online training session, you’ve got less than a week to take advantage of the early bird pricing. From now until March 18 you can register for $97 (instead of $147.)

If you’re busy March 25 but still want to join, you’re in luck because each 90-minute session is recorded and sent out to everyone who registered within 48 hours after the session ends.


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