There’s a perception among some highly motivated and overly competitive professionals that small talk is a waste of time and leads to a competitive disadvantage. They think that if you let your competition know too much about you, they can somehow take advantage of that.
I can see where some of those professionals are coming from. It’s a competitive market right now in many career fields. But I would argue that’s exactly why you can’t afford NOT to chitchat. Everyone, it seems, is being asked to do more with less. That means you have to make the most of your resources and continue a high level of performance. The best way to make that happen is by drawing on the talents and skills of the people around you. And how will you know what those are without having a conversation?
If you’re strategic about it, and target the people you need to talk to, a five-minute conversation could lead to more productivity than you could imagine. Try sparking a conversation using the following sports topics. These are just a few of the hottest issues in sports this week and can provide valuable insight into your coworkers, in addition to establishing better rapport.
NBA – The leagues top scorers will square off in the conference semifinals. Kobe Bryant and the Lakers will face scoring champion Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. That’s just one of the juicy storylines. LA’s Meta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest) injured OKC’s James Harden at the end of the regular season with a vicious elbow to the head.
- Do you think OKC will play with a little extra emotion based on the previous encounters with LA? The Lakers are also the team that previously knocked them out of the playoffs.
- Which team’s superstars will play a bigger roll in the series?
NHL – The hockey playoffs have now reached the conference finals. The winner of the New Jersey Devils and NY Rangers series will play the winner of the Phoenix Coyotes and the LA Kings in the finals.
- Which teams are in the best position to advance?
And how about the workout the Staples Center is getting in LA. Not only are the LA Kings playing there, but the NBA’s Clippers and Lakers are also in the playoffs and using the same facility.
- Can you image what it’s like to “flip” an arena to the right playing surface and team colors up to six times in four-day period?
MLB – Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers made headlines last week when he hit four home runs in a single game and finished the week with nine total home runs. He’s helping the Rangers separate themselves from the pack.
- Can anything slow Hamilton down? How long can he keep up this pace?
- Boston’s Josh Beckett missed a start after hurting himself during a round of golf. The Red Sox starter is expected to pitch Tuesday against Seattle. What do you make of his comments that he can do what he wants on his off days?
PGA – Matt Kuchar won The Players Championship over the weekend, but he’s not the golfer making the most headlines. That honor goes to Kevin Na who was on top the leaderboard after three rounds. Na is one of the slowest players on the tour due to the amount of ‘waggling’ he does before each shot. He says it’s to get mentally prepare for each pressure packed situation, but it made for painful TV and led to plenty of heckling from the fans.
- Do you think Na adds to the pressure by taking such a long time to hit a shot?
- What would you say to the fans who started taunting him midway through the weekend?