After a week-long road trip with the Seattle Mariners (you may or may not know that I’m a reporter on the television broadcast) I’m looking forward to going to the office this week. There’s a lot to catch up on and people to catch up with.
When I’m on the road, I rely on email more than actual conversations with colleagues. It’s an effective form of communication when you’re in a different time zone and trying to keep everyone on the same page, but it’s also more tedious than being able to have a face-to-face conversation with the person sitting next to me.
Whether you travel for work or not, there is value in actually talking to your colleagues. You can get more out of a single conversation than an back-and-forth email exchange. Those conversations can start with one of these sports topics.
Have a conversation, build relationships and get business done in a more timely manner.
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Apparently, saying women talk a lot is sexist. That’s news to me, especially since:
- I am a woman.
- I do talk more than my male counterparts.
- Audiences I survey during corporate presentations say the same thing. Women in those audiences say they talk more. Men say they talk less. What’s the big deal?
If I talk more, and my colleagues notice that, it’s not sexism it’s a truism. It’s also a potential communication barrier.
Just because I talk more, doesn’t mean that my lengthier conversations aren’t necessary. For example, I might be trying to solve a problem with a group of people or understand a different point of view.
Don’t assume that talking more is a bad thing.
Don’t assume it makes you more thorough, either.
You – whoever you are, male or female – should be communicating in the way your audience wants to hear.
Yes, that is your responsibility as a leader. Just take a look at what McDonald’s is doing to increase their applicant pool for summer jobs.
If the person I’m talking to prefers short, information-driven conversations, like most of the men I work with, if benefits me to provide real information in the form of metrics, or statistics up front. I need to give them something tangible to sink their teeth into.
If the people I work with want to be able to picture the end result, then it’s in my best interest to paint a picture, include more details and here’s a shocker…. talk more.
Is their sexism in the workplace? Yes, but don’t confuse it with poor communication skills or the fact that everyone has a different preferred communication style. That’s a mistake.
You should know how your communication style fits in to your office setting.
You should be able to adapt your message to the person you’re talking to.
You should also try talking sports to practice honing your conversation skills in a way that reaches different audiences.
Why? Because you can talk about sports in a number of ways. Talking about stats, wins/losses or the numbers in general is a good way to engage a sports fan who is also an information-driven conversationalist, like many of the men that I work with.
I talk stats with my sports-loving girlfriends too, but that conversation also includes more details about my day working the game and their pre and post game social activities. Those conversations are longer. It’s not bad, just a different. I have to know the information the audience wants. If I can’t meet their needs, they’re not going to care what I have to say.
Sports conversations are a valuable tool in business whether you’re looking to improve your communication skills, business relationships or both. I can help by providing weekly sports conversation starters delivered right to your inbox by 7am every Monday.
I can also say this, as a former high school football official and current sports broadcaster, there’s a lot of things that constitute sexism at work.
Being told you talk more than someone else ain’t necessarily one of them. Take matters into our own hands.
Start being a more effective communicator.
Jen Mueller, America’s Expert Talker, pursued a career in sports broadcasting after repeated comments of “talks too much” from teachers and family members. It’s worked out in her favor. Jen serves as the sideline radio reporter for the Seattle Seahawks and is a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast. She founded Talk Sporty to Me in 2009 and advocates using sports as a business tool. Hire Jen for an unique take on business communication Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com.