Crash Course to Talking Sporty

Posted on: April 10th, 2019 by Jen Mueller

The gentleman sitting next to me at the bar couldn’t believe I was watching the Final Four.

“I got fired form a job as a bar tender once because I didn’t know enough about sports. The guy who owned the bar asked me what the Big 10 was and when I said I had no idea he informed me that was the problem. Everyone else coming into the bar did and they expected me to be able to keep up with the conversation.”

Two things stood out to me in this short exchange.

  1. Being able to talk sports is important for relationship building (and in some cases keeping a job.) It wasn’t about the sports itself it was inability to relate to the people he was working around. The people who came into the bar expected to find someone who listened and could contribute to a sports conversation.
  2. Not all guys talk sports. People (incorrectly) assume I started Talk Sporty to Me to teach women how to talk sports. Women don’t necessarily need help. You know who does? Non-sports fans. They can be men or women, young or old.

Here’s what this means for you. If you overlook the value of sports talk in building relationships with colleagues you’re making the same mistake the fired bartender did. Secondly, stereotyping sports fans causes you to miss out on opportunities.

Broaden your view, change your perspective and perhaps you’ll see the bigger picture on how sports talk works to your advantage.

Here are three ways to go about broadening your sports knowledge.

  1. Read sports headlines. Headlines and sub-headlines are written intentionally to provide key information about the story. You can glean a lot of information from reading just the headlines. And if you want to make it even easier, sign up to receive the list of sports Convo Starters I post every Monday. Each topic is essentially a headline containing at least five pieces of information.
  2. Pick a local team to follow. If you don’t know where to start, start local. You’ll naturally get more updates/news about the local team. In addition more people will be talking about the local team giving you more chances to either join the conversation or learn from the sports fans around you.
  3. Focus on one player. For the purpose of building your sports knowledge base, narrowing your focus will help you retain more information. Listen for updates related to that player and you’ll automatically get details about the game or the team because sports updated wouldn’t say Jay Bruce hit two homers in a game without also saying the Mariners beat the White Sox or the Mariners won 9-2. You wouldn’t just hear Russell Wilson threw for 260 yards and two touchdowns in a game without also hearing who was on the receiving end of those touchdown passes, the score of the game, who the Seahawks were playing and if the Seahawks won.

If you’d like more strategies on becoming a sports fan for business checkout the free resources available at TalkSportytoMe.com and leave your name in the box marked “Let’s Do This!” to receive weekly sports ConvoStarters.

Jen Mueller has literally written the books on how to become a sports fan for business and how to talk sports at work. She’s an expert in sports talk and communication because it’s what she does for a living. A 19-year sports broadcasting veteran, Jen is a member of the Mariners television broadcast team on ROOT Sports and serves as the Seahawks radio sideline reporter. Her unique perspective on business communication and the value of sports fandom at work makes for entertaining and edcuational presentations. Hire Jen to speak at your next conference, event or training session. Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com

 

 

 

 

 

Topics that Pair Well with Sports

Posted on: March 27th, 2019 by Jen Mueller

I went to Japan with the Mariners.

I was there to cover a baseball team, playing baseball games.

Sports was the reason for the trip.

And yet…

If you ask me about my trip to Japan I’ll tell you about the food, the sightseeing, trying to navigate the train system, how clean the city was… and then I’ll tell you about the baseball.

Watching baseball in Japan in an experience you’ll never forget (especially when you also happen to watch one of the greatest players in the game retire in his home country.) It’s just not the only think to talk about when you visit the country.

Which illustrates that point that sports isn’t just about sports. There is a whole wide world (literally) of things to talk about outside the stats and scores of game. Sports can be the entry point to a number of different conversation topics. Which is why you should use sports to your advantage.

It’s why sports small talk builds business relationships and it’s why sports works better than a game of 20-questions.

Sports cuts to the chase while opening a door.

“Did you see the game?” The answer is either “Yes” or “No” and if it’s “No,” the follow-up becomes, “What were you doing instead?”

 

Did you go to Japan with the Mariners?

“Yes, and I’d visit Tokyo again in a heartbeat.”

 

Sports started the conversation and opened the door for topics you’re more interested in which is a heck of a lot easier than trying to guess what people want to talk about.

A “20-questions” or “Speed-dating approach” does not build relationships as much as it starts an interrogation.

Here are 3 topics useful in taking a non-sports approach to a sports conversation.

Location. Whether it’s Tokyo, London or Cleveland, Ohio a game taking place in a city other than your own can lead to a conversation about the last trip you took, upcoming work trips, recent vacations and bucket-list destinations.

Food. In Tokyo bento boxes, sushi and noodles are concession stand items. In Seattle crickets are served at one of the restaurants. Each stadium serves different food that reflects the region. Go to the game, stay for the food.

Fan experience. What you like most about going to the game could be the game itself, or it could be the venue, ambiance, food or any number of other things. Use the game-day experience to spring board into a broader topic.

Sports fans have more than one interest. Start with what you know about their sports fandom and let that lead into the next part of the conversation and a deeper understand of who they are and how you can continue to engage with them and talk to them.

Talking sports for work is different than talking sports at a tailgate, sports bar or sporting event.

I’ve got the process and strategies you need to make sports useful in business conversations.

Join me for a FREE 30-minute crash course during your lunch hour Friday April 12 from 12:30-1pm PST

You’ll learn:

  • How to become a sports fan for business
  • Tips on making sports talk easier and in some cases not even talking about sports
  • The exit strategies you need if you get mistaken for a sports fan who knows (or cares) more than you actually do.
  • Learn how to read a box score so you don’t have to spend hours watching baseball games.

It’s FREE to sign up and get the recording. There is a huge benefit in being able to connect with sports fans. This is a starting point. Sign up today.

Better Business Communication: Follow-Up For Success

Posted on: March 21st, 2019 by Jen Mueller

“Third time’s a charm.”

Notice the saying isn’t “first time’s a charm.”

Which should provide a reminder that success requires more than one action. It takes follow up.

It doesn’t matter what kind of success you’re after, you have to have a plan for winning. Take a sports team, a game is never won or lost in one play. The outcome might come down to a game-winning play, but that play is actually a follow up to everything that’s happened before then.

Teams know the series of actions that will lead to success. Following one well-executed play after another results in better outcomes.

It’s a different way to look at sports and parallels the way you should be approaching business conversations.

Follow up strategies aren’t just for sales and networking conversations, they’re for everyday interactions.

Want more strategies to improve business communication? Download 10 Mistakes You’ll Make in a Business Conversation – but Shouldn’t and become a more effective communication right now.

Jen Mueller is a badass at business communication. Her approach to 1-on-1 interactions is based on nearly 20 years spent inside professional sports locker rooms as a sports broadcaster. She is a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team and serves as the sideline radio reporter for the Seattle Seahawks. Clients love Jen’s content, delivery and entertaining approach. Hire Jen to speak at your next conference or for your staff training. Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com 

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