Of course, the Super Bowl is “The Big Game” for football fans, but it could also be a big game for you. Just talking about the game could lead to big (or bigger) opportunities if you position yourself appropriately – not just as a fan, but as a leader.
The way you talk about a game says a lot of about you, so make it count and think about approaching Super Bowl conversations with these things in mind.
- Discernment is a leadership quality. Which means paying attention to the actual words you use. It doesn’t matter if you think Philadelphia Eagles fans are “stupid” or if you consider New England Patriots fans “entitled,” those are not words you are going to say out loud. These aren’t just fans, but actual people you’re talking about. Name calling rarely reflects well on a leader. Choose your words accordingly.
- Stupid questions show a lack of common sense and awareness. You’ve probably been told there’s no such thing as a stupid question. There are. Asking someone from Boston who they’re cheering for in the Super Bowl is a stupid question, so is asking which quarterback is better, Tom Brady or Nick Foles? (If Brady wasn’t already a 5-time Super Bowl champion, a 13-time Pro Bowler and a 2-time league MVP it would be different.)
All it takes is a little common sense and awareness to figure out some questions shouldn’t be asked. In business, they get asked anyway because we’re also taught not to assume things. It would be better to be taught the importance of common sense and self-awareness.
- Disagreeing is a skill. Giving a “hot take” is a trendy way to voice displeasure in today’s society. It often includes an inflammatory statement, made intentionally to take a stand out or further a disagreement - things leaders try to avoid. Instead of giving a “hot take” on the game, practice disagreeing with an opposing fan in a low-leverage situation. (It really doesn’t matter if the fan from Philly argues Nick Foles has a better chance to win the game.)
Disagreeing starts with agreeing to disagree from the beginning. (You’re not actually going to be convinced Nick Foles has a better chance to win the game.) When you agree to differing viewpoints from the outset you change the purpose of the entire interaction. It becomes a fact-finding mission. You’re not fighting to win a debate. As a result, you’re less concerned with keeping score and interested in what the other person is actually saying, and you’re honing skills used by leaders on a daily basis.
Conversations about the Super Bowl, provide an opening to talk about more than just the game. It’s your chance to use daily interactions as a way to develop your leadership potential. That’s the premise of The Influential Conversationalist. Written by Seahawks sideline reporter and veteran broadcaster, Jen Mueller, the book details conversation strategies she uses with professional athletes and how they apply to business settings and leadership development. The Influential Conversationalist is available on Amazon.
Jen Mueller, veteran sports broadcaster and rock star keynote presenter is the author of The Influential Conversationalist. She specializes in conversation strategies that develop leadership potential improve business communication.
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