I know that name doesn’t mean much to some fans, but the former Seahawks receiver is back with the team and on the practice squad after spending the last year a half with San Francisco and Chicago.
Ricardo started his professional career with the Seahawks in 2011 and up until yesterday I hadn’t seen him in more than a year. It didn’t seem to matter though. When I went over to his locker, he wrapped me up in a bear hug and started chatting as if he’d never left. Then he reminded me of a conversation we had almost 2 years ago and I was floored. I was surprised that he remembered the conversation but even more surprised that he had been listening to the conversation.
I chat with every player on a regular basis. It’s part of the relationship building process, but you never really know how much sinks in until a moment like Tuesday in the locker room.
The business application is as simple as this: When you talk people listen.
You might not think so at the time, but the people around you are watching and paying more attention than you realize. It’s especially true with small talk situations. The conversations that don’t seem to mean anything at all are the ones that build rapport.
Ricardo and I have a great working relationship, but it’s not because I interviewed him every week. In fact, I probably only talked to him twice after games. Our rapport is based on the other conversations we had. They were the conversations that showed I was interested in him as a person.
Friendly faces in the Seahawks locker room makes my work environment easier, more fun and ultimately more productive because people who feel valued are easier to work with. It doesn’t matter if it’s a professional athlete or the people in your workplace.
- How do you build rapport with your colleagues?
- Are you quick to skip over the small talk?
- Are you willing to invest a few minutes of your day in conversations that lead to better relationships?
Jen Mueller is the radio sideline reporter for the Seattle Seahawks, as well as, a reporter for ROOT Sports NW out of Seattle. She is also a professional speaker and the author of Game Time: Learn to Talk Sports in 5 Minutes a Day, the go-to resource for new and novice sports fans. The book is available on Amazon.