If you want to become a sports fan, don’t start by trying to learn the rules. Not only is attempting the 101 approach (Football 101, Basebal 101, Basketball 101, etc…) tedious and frustrating – it’s not how fans talk about the game.
Fans talk about the topics, players and storylines making news. The talk about the headlines.
If you want to become a sports fan that’s where you should start. In fact I developed an entire approach around how to become a sports fan almost 10 years ago using sports headlines as the starting point. It’s why I provide Weekly Sports Conversation Starters. The video explains how to use that weekly cheat sheet to build your sports knowledge base and become a sports fan.
As I mentioned in the video, I am a former high school football official. It’s not a bad thing to learn the rules, it’s just not advantageous to get into the weeds trying to memorize a rulebook (unless you’re studying to become an official.) Make it easy on yourself. Sign up for the weekly sports #ConvoStarters and purchase the How to Talk Sporty guide and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a sports fan and talking sporty at work.
Jen Mueller is a rock star keynote presenter who provides an outside-the-box approach to business communication. Whether you need to know how to talk sports, or want to be more effective in your day-to-day interactions Jen’s got you covered. She talks for a living you know, as the sideline radio reporter for the Seattle Seahawks and as a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team. Contact Jen via email: Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com
Of course, the Super Bowl is “The Big Game” for football fans, but it could also be a big game for you.
Just talking about the game could lead to big (or bigger) opportunities if you position yourself appropriately – not just as a fan, but as a leader.
The way you talk about a game says a lot of about you, so make it count and think about approaching Super Bowl conversations with these things in mind.
1. Discernment is a leadership quality.
Which means paying attention to the actual words you use. It doesn’t matter if you think Philadelphia Eagles fans are “stupid” or if you consider New England Patriots fans “entitled,” those are not words you are going to say out loud. These aren’t just fans, but actual people you’re talking about. Name calling rarely reflects well on a leader. Choose your words accordingly.
2. Stupid questions show a lack of common sense and awareness.
You’ve probably been told there’s no such thing as a stupid question. There are. Asking someone from Boston who they’re cheering for in the Super Bowl is a stupid question, so is asking which quarterback is better, Tom Brady or Nick Foles? (If Brady wasn’t already a 5-time Super Bowl champion, a 13-time Pro Bowler and a 2-time league MVP it would be different.)
All it takes is a little common sense and awareness to figure out some questions shouldn’t be asked. In business, they get asked anyway because we’re also taught not to assume things. It would be better to be taught the importance of common sense and self-awareness.
3. Disagreeing is a skill.
Giving a “hot take” is a trendy way to voice displeasure in today’s society. It often includes an inflammatory statement, made intentionally to take a stand out or further a disagreement – things leaders try to avoid. Instead of giving a “hot take” on the game, practice disagreeing with an opposing fan in a low-leverage situation. (It really doesn’t matter if the fan from Philly argues Nick Foles has a better chance to win the game.)
Disagreeing starts with agreeing to disagree from the beginning. (You’re not actually going to be convinced Nick Foles has a better chance to win the game.) When you agree to differing viewpoints from the outset you change the purpose of the entire interaction. It becomes a fact-finding mission. You’re not fighting to win a debate. As a result, you’re less concerned with keeping score and interested in what the other person is actually saying, and you’re honing skills used by leaders on a daily basis.
Conversations about the Super Bowl, provide an opening to talk about more than just the game. It’s your chance to use daily interactions as a way to develop your leadership potential. That’s the premise of The Influential Conversationalist. The book details conversation strategies I use with professional athletes and how they apply to business settings and leadership development. The Influential Conversationalist is available on Amazon.
Jen Mueller, veteran sports broadcaster and rock star key note presenter is the author of The Influential Conversationalist. She specializes in conversation strategies that develop leadership potential improve business communication.
To think it all starts with your willingness to use sports topics (like the ones I provide every week in the Weekly Conversation Starters) in small talk at work. Make sure to sign up for those weekly emails and purchase the How to Talk Sporty guide that makes those ConvoStarters even more useful.
Jen Mueller is the sideline reporter for the Seattle Seahawks and a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team. She knows how to talk sports, but more importantly for you, she can teach you how to do it in a way that’s useful in business settings. Jen is a rock star keynote presenter and provides a unique take on business communication. Hire Jen for your next event: Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com