In all industries, at all levels sports talk reigns supreme. It is an opener in conversations, it is a way to create connections, build new relationships and build excitement among teams.
Josh Robbins a reporter with the Orlando Sentinel (www.orlandosentinel.com) is curious. Do you use Fantasy Football as a teambuilding/morale building/team unifying exercise within your unit, team or group? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your experiences.
If you do participate and talk football, golf, baseball or any kind of sports before a meeting starts, during lunch and at the beginning of the day here are some career savvy steps you should take:
1- Notice if there are people sitting at the table who are silent. They may be uncomfortable because they don't know the game. Take a proactive step and say "I'm sorry. ~Name the sport~ (Golf, baseball, or fantasy football) is so exciting to me I forget that others don't hold my passion. Would you like me to teach you a bit about the game?" They may not take you up on the offer but they will hold you in high regard for being aware and sensitive to their needs.
2- If you are a team leader read on. You have seven members on your team and five talk sports and two who don't. I suggest you make sure that you go out of your way to include the other two in informal activities that don't include sport talk. While the five talk sports you are creating an environment of isolation by not including the other two.
Here are two tips to bring the team together.
a- Ask the two people who do not participate in the sports talk for ideas to bring the team together inexpensively and in short spurts. By asking them you are including them and you may be surprised by their innovative answers which, once incorporated, make you a hero/heroine.
b- Have two of the five sport talkers 'mentor' the two about the sport. Mentor them by educating them on basic information regarding the sport, share with them important news of the day and educate them about why the mentor loves the sport. By reaching out you are communicating that you care about ALL of your team members...not just the sport loving ones.