Are you a big football fan?
97 to 100M people are expected to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, when the LA Rams face the Cincinnati Bengals. With those numbers, it’s likely you will be talking to someone this week, perhaps even a current or prospective client, who is a fan. Because beyond a sporting event–aka it’s just a football game–it’s a USAmerican cultural phenomenon.
Like it or not, it’s helpful to have a conversational knowledge of the game.
Even as a former pom pom girl I don’t get the intricate ins and outs of football (like why does 3 minutes left on the clock take 20 minutes?) But there’s so much more! The chili! The wings (now in vegan, too)! The football shaped cookies! And my favorite…the commercials!
The Art of Advertising
How exciting that the creativity of advertising has become part of the Super Bowl conversation! You can even preview the commercials now like coming attraction movie trailers (see Top 10 here, more “best of” here or teasers for others here). There’s Guy Fiori, Kevin Hart and a bunch of past football players! Scarlett Johansson and Colin Yost for Alexa are even cuter than last year’s Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher were for Cheetos.
How to Cram for a Football Game in Two Days
Whether you’re coming for the game, the commercials, or purposely boycotting it all, this time of year it’s helpful to understand the basics. For that, I reached out to Alan Headbloom, a cross-cultural consultant. Alan offers a full-on seminar geared to people from outside the US (where football, aka futbol, means soccer) to explain everything from tailgating and fight songs to basic rules and even how to read the on-screen graphics.
He recommends a ‘go to’ intercultural tactic (as opposed to having to study and learn football). “Ask and listen,” says Headbloom. “I teach my students and clients to ask a few good questions and just sit back and let their USAmerican colleagues and friends do all the talking.”
Sample questions might be, Who’s your favorite team? Do you like to go to games? Did you grow up watching football? Did you play football in school?
It’s all about points of connection and rapport.
The real lesson for business owners, who must build relationships with people of all interests and experience, often vastly different from their own, is how do you create points of connection to build rapport? People still like to work with people they like and feel a connection to.
It may boil down to knowing just enough to ask questions to get the other person talking. Are you ready?