This week I’ve had the pleasure of working with a few different sports teams. The only problem is that when working with their representatives, the topic of sports tends to come up. While this would be fine for an athletics aficionado, being the occasional spectator that I am, I often end up lost in the chatter. When terms like “spring training,” “ERA,” and “all-star voting” start floating around, a distinctive glaze forms over my eyes.
I have noticed this happening in several meetings over the last week. The topic isn’t always sports – conversations about deck building, car repair, and other traditionally masculine subjects have a similar effect–and when I have little to contribute, my attentiveness wanes.
Knowing about this possibility, I usually prep for meetings by brushing up on my manly topics, drinking a beer and grunting… Ok the last two are made up, but sometimes it feels that way.
I have found that if I am able to contribute to the small talk that occurs before a meeting, it increases my credibility. I think this is a part of working in any male-heavy workplace; being able to act like one of the guys can help you improve the comfort level of a meeting, and can show that you have the knowledge and style to effectively promote their company. Plus it never hurts to learn a little bit about something you had never thought about before.
This is also part of being young in the business world, where youth isn’t always fully accepted. You have to take some time to prove that you can roll with the best of them. After doing so, you can introduce new marketing techniques to an audience that has already accepted you. After all, half of selling a product is selling yourself. If that means brushing up on sports terms, count me in.
Do you find yourself needing to learn about topics not directly related to the company you are talking to before having a meeting?