July 10, 2013
Sport is culturally unavoidable. It’s a $200 billion industry in the U.S. alone, and it permeates pop culture, news, politics, and the office water cooler. Sport is everywhere, and I passionately believe that women under-utilize the sports conversation in their personal and professional lives.
I recently spoke at a Symposium on the topic of “Women Winning in the Workplace.” My “winning in the workplace” tip for the women in attendance? Talk Sports. I then spent 45 minutes discussing how entering the sports conversation can revolutionize your communication skills and relationship building tactics both personally (another post for another time) and professionally. Today, I want to share 3 of those professional benefits with you.
First, remember what I always say about talking sports…
YOU DON”T HAVE TO KNOW EVERYTHING, YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW SOMETHING.
“Sports are still the ultimate shared experience” – Bob Costas
After nearly 5 years in the medical sales industry, I have personally experienced how this “ultimate shared experience” can quickly build relationships. In my sales territory, I am assigned to 150+ surgeons, 2 of these surgeons are women. Navigating an overwhelmingly male dominated field, I have relied heavily on my love and knowledge of sports to start conversations that have ultimately built meaningful (and lucrative) relationships.
If you have ever been left out of a sports conversation taking place in a board room or at the proverbial water cooler, you certainly aren’t alone. But you have the power to educate yourself and use sports to your advantage. Don’t be left out! You don’t have to know everything, you just have to know something.
Knowledge = Confidence
Removing the sports barrier from your professional relationships will naturally lead to more confidence in the workplace. I encourage you to learn something – the basics of a particular sport, key players on a team, a quick glance over the final scores of the weekend’s games – and then listen for an opportunity to be “in” on the conversation. Whether you choose to enter the conversation or not, simply knowing that you CAN adds a level of confidence that is undeniable.
I am always amazed at the number of women who tell me that watching sports isn’t fun. The way I see it, sports are just like women: competitive, passionate, strategic, and moody! Studies show that there are 6 motives that drive fan connection:
See? You don’t have to know every stat, or every player’s middle name to enjoy sports. Any reason is a good reason to be a fan! Don’t let this great professional tool slip through your fingers. Start learning, watching, enjoying, and talking sports!
Are you inspired to learn more about sports so you can see these benefits in your own professional life? Check out these other posts….
Understanding Downs: Why is there so much math in football?