You NEED to Know About The Skimm
You woke up and checked the weather forecast on your phone – high of 68 degrees in the middle of August. Very weird!
Your “office” for the day was the historic Wrigley Field with clients at the Chicago Cubs baseball game followed by free-flowing booze at the after party. Not normal, but it worked.
The Cubs Won!! No this is seriously out of the ordinary. (Ha – just kidding, the Cubs didn’t win. But if they had, it would have really topped off a day that strayed from the “norm”.)
So yes, I woke up and had to decide what to wear to spend a day in the stands at a professional baseball game followed by several hours at a nearby bar chatting it up with clients galore. I’m not a Cubs fan and don’t own any gear, which would have been the most obvious choice. But I decided to play along and chose Cubs colors (red, white and blue). I exchanged an orange belt for the “red” because I didn’t have a red belt, but I got close.
And of course, I needed a crossover bag to hold all my personal goodies (like that ID they requested at the bar to ensure I was at least 21 – haha). I most certainly would be juggling a drink in one hand, an appetizer in the other, attempting to somehow eat and drink with no free hands, all while hoping I don’t get spinach stuck in my teeth.
Flats (I’d be standing for hours!), jeans, and that maternity shirt I refashioned into a regular ol’ long sleeve T-shirt fit the bill perfectly. I never would have guessed I’d want a long sleeve shirt for a baseball game in August, let alone jeans. But it’s been one crazy cool summer around here.
After I planned my outfit, I knew I’d be yapping forever with many of the over 500 colleagues and clients gathering for the festivities. I’d need some topics of conversation not only for the bar after the game but also all those empty minutes between play during a way-too-long three and half hour baseball game. (America’s pastime seems to be turning into America’s snooze time.) If you’re in a profession where you’re not serving external clients, you may not be attending all these “networking” events about which I jabber. But no matter what your job, there’s a pretty good chance you’re occasionally chatting it up with people you don’t know and finding topics to discuss can sometimes be nerve-racking. Maybe it’s a baseball game with your client, your spouse’s holiday party or a company summer picnic. Heck – maybe it’s just your little kiddo’s soccer game and you’re awkwardly standing on the sideline next to little Suzie or Bobby’s parents and can’t possibly talk about the game of beehive ball happening in front of you any longer.
Here are a few of my favorites places to find great topics of conversation the next time an awkward silence has you tongue-tied.
The Skimm ~ I can’t thank this daily email enough for giving me a fighting chance of knowing what’s going on in the world of current events. I hate the daily news – fires, murders, and bad weather (you’re welcome for summarizing today’s and every day’s evening news, you no longer have to watch it). And most days, I just don’t have time to read full detailed articles about all the happenings in the world that matter. The Skimm summarizes the most notable current events in just a few paragraphs (and in a witty tone, no less) to keep me up to speed and in the loop. Thank you The Skimm!!
Wall Street Journal ~ Definitely not for everyone, I have a subscription and read it occasionally on my tablet. Totally understand if it’s not your thing. But if you work in the world of finance or corporate business, it might be a good investment in yourself to keep you in the know about your industry.
99U ~ This ALWAYS has some cool study or new research presented in just a brief snippet that can surely spark conversation. Have it at the ready in your Feedly newsfeed on your phone.
Farnam Street Blog ~ The articles on this blog tend to be a bit deeper but very insightful. They always get me thinking… And these are in my Feedly newsfeed too!
Do you have any other great resources for staying up to speed on the world around us or interesting sources of information that might make for good talking points with clients? I know there are a gazillion, so let’s here your favorites!