Sometimes business travel sparks the most interesting conversations. Like my recent trip to New Orleans for my job with the Seahawks. For the record, what happens in New Orleans is on par with what happens in Las Vegas. It stays there. That means I won’t be sharing juicy details, but I do want to highlight how a sports conversation can get the ball rolling in a different direction.
Last week I had to explain to people that I would be out town for a few days and heading to New Orleans. It took about 30 seconds for the conversation to focus on the travel aspect as opposed to the sports aspect. The people whom I was talking to, didn’t want to talk Seahawks football, instead they shared stories of their trip to New Orleans from the college days, which led to stories about craziest trip they’d ever been on and tales of how they survived college. Needless to say, I learned several interesting things about my friends and co-workers.
As the holidays approach here’s how to use this technique during your family gatherings and holiday parties. If you happen to be at a function where there’s a game or sporting event on TV focus on the teams playing not the action on the field. Take, for example, the Dallas Cowboys game on Thanksgiving. Pose the question – “Have you ever been to Dallas? I hear the stadium is great.” Or you could try “Have you ever been to Dallas? I’ve always wanted to go, but haven’t been yet?”
Follow-ups include “Have you taken any business trips lately?” Or “Do you have any trips coming up?”
You see where I’m going with this, right? You’re building a personal relationship in a non-threatening way and using a conversation topic that encourages people to participate.