Make Sports Useful in Business: Relationship Building

Posted on: September 21st, 2018 by Jen Mueller

Athletes don’t have to talk to me.

There’s certainly no requirement that says an athlete has to be nice to me.

It’s their choice.

But I try to make it as easy as possible for them do both by building relationships and being pleasant to be around.

It might surprise sports fans to realize athletes can always refuse an interview with me, even though I’m the sideline reporter charged with getting the interview. There are league requirements that athletes be made available for interviews and that reporters have access to talk to players. But that doesn’t guarantee they’ll do it or offer a favorable response.

People have to want to talk to you on their own.

How are you going to make it easy for colleagues to want to talk to you?

My suggestion? Small talk.

Every conversation you have with colleagues provides another data point they can use to get to know you. Repeated conversations provide a picture of who you are. Those conversations don’t have to be long and they shouldn’t be about work. Find a conversation topic – like sports – that gives you multiple connection points. Sports conversations aren’t just about sports. They can be the start of a relationship that makes it easier for colleagues to want to talk to you.

Follow Talk Sporty to Me on Instagram where Jen provides weekly sports topics and videos that highlight parallels between sports and business communication.

Jen Mueller is badass at business communication. Her ability to communicate effectively has led to a 18-year sports broadcasting career. She currently serves as the sideline reporter for the Seattle Seahawks and is a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team on ROOT Sports. Yes, she talks sports, but there’s more to it that. She provides conversation strategies that increase confidence, improve communication and increase productivity in any workplace. Interested in hiring Jen for your next conference or training? Send an email: Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com

 

 

Talking Seahawks: The Trickle-Down Effect of Conversations

Posted on: September 14th, 2018 by Jen Mueller

What’s your plan for building go-to relationships at work?

How do you know you’ve established enough trust with colleagues that you can count on them to come through in critical moments, when there’s a lot on the line or when you know something needs to get done on deadline?

In other words, how do you know you’ve got the kind of relationship a quarterback has with a trusted wide receiver when the game is on the line and a play needs to be made?

Brandon Marshall has been that guy for a few quarterbacks over his 13-year NFL career and now he’s developing that relationship in Seattle with Russell Wilson.

As Marshall noted in a recent press conference building the kind of trust that translates to big plays on game day started by observing his environment. He watched the way Wilson and offensive coordinator Brian Shottenheimer interacted. He listened to the way they exchanged ideas, delivered feedback and collaborated on play calls. What he saw in those interactions allowed him to trust the process before he was part of it. (Marshall was coming off an injury when he signed with the Seahawks and was limited in early workouts and practices.)

Marshall said the conversations he observed created on trickle-down effect on him and everyone else in the wide receiver meeting room. The way Wilson and Shottenheimer communicated gave others an opportunity to develop trust and buy-in. You need the same thing to be successful and productive with you team at work.

It doesn’t matter what line of work you’re in, effective business communication is the key to creating go-to relationships that get stuff done. It also doesn’t matter if you intend to create a trickle-down effect like Wilson and SHottenheimer – you do. Colleagues (teammates) are watching your reactions, conversations and ability to collaborate.

Are you paying as close attention to your communication tactics as your colleagues are? #careeradvice #mentorship #business #communication Click To Tweet

When you watch Wilson and Marshall connect for receptions and touchdowns this season, or any other quarterback-receiver combo, think about to the importance of go-to relationships and the impact your communication skills play in developing those connections in your workplace.

3 Ways to Get a New Team Member up to Speed

Here’s what else you can do: Follow Talk Sporty to Me on Instagram because every week I’ll bring you some insight from the locker room that applies to your work environment. I’ll also offer ways to become a badass at business communication, because being “better” at business communication is expected. Being a badass at business communication opens doors.

Jen Mueller is the sideline reporter for the Seattle Seahawks. Yes, she talks about football (and sports) a lot, but as a business owner herself, she sees a lot of business lessons burried in post game interviews and conversations with athletes. Each week through the season she’ll bring you insights that get you closer to the players and empower you to be more effective at business communication. You can contact Jen about speaking for your next conference, event or training via email: Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com

 

Sports Watch and Talk: Make Yourself Relatable

Posted on: August 22nd, 2018 by Jen Mueller

Productivity only gets you so far. You need your colleagues to be a fan of you as a person not just your work.

You determine how successful you become, but it goes beyond the work you accomplish. Your colleagues play a huge role in the opportunities you get and the amount of stress you deal with along the way. You play a role in how those relationships get developed.

It’s up to you to give colleagues an opportunity to get to who you are and that happens through small talk.

You can’t just tell someone they should trust you or like you. They need to come to that conclusion on their own after seeing it for themselves. That’s where small talk comes in. The little conversations you have every day paint a picture of who you are. Colleagues are making judgements based on the way you talk about things, react to situations and position yourself in conversations.

If you don’t think small talk is an important part of business communication you’re missing the boat big time.

Since building relationships happens over a period of time, you need a small talk topic with staying power and follow up opportunities. You need a topic like sports. Introducing sports as a small talk topic provides more follow up opportunities, reduces the chance of dead-end conversations and gives colleagues a chance to relate to you on a personal level. Sports conversations are more than sports talk. Think about all the different topics that could come up through a sports conversations like hometown, hobbies, family, weekend plans, food, entertainment, favorite cities, etc…

And if you need some help putting this in practice, consider the type of person information that gets shared about athletes and coaches during games or sports broadcasts.

Sports Watch and Talk

Athletes are known for more than the role they play in sports. Their personalities play a role in why and how they become fan favorites. Sometimes a fan is drawn to their community involvement, other times it’s because of a shared experience like learning you both took piano lessons at a young age.

When an athlete piques your interest, make a mental note of why you find that player intriguing or attention worthy. What did he or she do, outside of the game, that caught your attention? If it’s something you have in common, use it to start a conversation with a colleague that makes both you and the athlete relatable.

“I didn’t realize Randy Johnson was into photography until the broadcasters made mention of it during the game last night. I’m taking a photography workshop next month, and wish I could get the same access he’s got at games.”

A conversation like that indicates an interest in both photography and sports. It provides multiple follow up opportunities and way for colleagues to talk to about something other than work. That’s just one example to get you thinking about how sports conversations can help build relationships at work.

The Influential Conversationalist is filled with ways to connect with colleagues and demonstrate leadership potential through daily interactions. Pick up your copy on Amazon.

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