I’ll admit it. I really dislike sports.
Nothing makes my eyes glaze over more than people talking about it or someone staring mesmerised at the TV watching it. It doesn’t matter what sort it is; if it has a ball, a bat, and no plot, I’m an equally opportunity disliker.
But, I make it my business to know enough to communicate with people. I don’t have to retain that knowledge forever, and I don’t have to be an expert. All I have to do is make sure that if a player has been in the news for falling foul of the rules, or if finals are on, or it’s Monday morning after the weekend games, I can respond in a way that shows a passing knowledge to keep the conversation going (and hopefully it will spill into other areas where I can communicate on a firmer footing!).
Being aware of what people are talking about, helps you get by in life. It helps you step outside your comfort zone so you can network, interview well, and communicate successfully with a wide range of people you will meet along your journey. Topics could be sports, news, music, current events, or quirky items that everyone is talking about; it really doesn’t matter. Just make sure you’re aware of it.
Don’t miss out on being exposed to people who may end up being a support mechanism, an ally, a friend or even an interviewer who just plain likes you and wants to advocate for your candidacy.
Small talk is our initial way of evaluating people and helps us look behind the words to a person’s intelligence, wit and warmth. It is rare to enter an interview without a few words of social chatter to warm up, and that usually starts with what everyone is talking about. (Yes, even if you have no interest in the starter topic!).
Today, before you go to interview or call one your former colleagues for a coffee and a spot of networking, flick through the news headlines online, listen to some radio talk back, and check out what people are talking about on Twitter. Putting yourself out—-just a little—-may expose you to new opportunities and relationships.
By the way, did you hear what Eddie said last night on the sports show?