Posted on: July 9th, 2012 by Jen Mueller

Building Rapport through conversationsWelcome to another workweek and for many of you, me included, welcome back to work after a holiday weekend.   It’s hard to jump back in after a few days off, so consider easing in to the workweek by taking a few extra minutes for office chit chat.  I know it might seem unproductive, but I guarantee that taking time to build rapport and ask your colleagues about how they spent their July 4th celebrations will go a long way in building rapport.  That rapport will actually help your productivity overall because colleagues who like each other work better with each other, and enjoy working together.

Sports topics are a great way to break the ice.  It’s a “safe” subject, appeals to a lot of people and keeps you from having to hear about every fireworks display known to man.  If you don’t follow sports very closely, the following summaries will help you join the conversation.


MLB – The Major League Baseball All Star game is this week.  Baseball fans commonly refer to it as the “Midsummer Classic.”  There’s pride on the line for both teams, but also a chance to get home field advantage in the World Series.  The National League has won the last 3 All Star games.  Prior to the game on Tuesday night, it’s the Home Run Derby Monday night.  Toronto’s Jose Bautista is a favorite to win the Derby.

  • Where does the Home Run Derby rank in regards to other All Star events, like the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest?  Will you be watching?
  • It’s a great honor for players to earn All Star honors, but as a fan how much of the game do you watch?


NBA – Basketball fans are keeping tabs on several trades and potential moves.  Meanwhile the Olympic roster is set.  10 of the 12 roster spots were considered “locks,” with only two spots up in the air.  Those went to Andre Iguodala and James Harden.   The oldest player on the roster is 33 year old Kobe Bryant, the youngest is 22 year old Harden.   The US team won a gold medal in the 2008 Olympic games.

  • What do you think about the makeup of this team and the team’s chances to defend their title?
  • This might be the last time we see NBA veterans in the Olympics. Do you like the fact that there are pros playing in the otherwise amateur event?

Wimbledon – On the women’s side, Serena Williams won her 5th Wimbledon Championship.  Rodger Federer won his 7th Wimbledon championship on the men’s side.  That ties him with Pete Sampras for most wins at the All England Club.  The win also means Federer regains the world #1 ranking.

  • At 30 years old, Federer becomes the oldest Wimbledon winner since Arthur Ashe in 1975.  How does Federer compare to the all-time greats?
  • Serena’s win was impressive because she was fighting back from an illness that kept her out of tennis for 10 months and then injuries that hampered her 2011 season.  She appeared back to form, dominating the competition.  Do you think this is the beginning of another Serena resurgence?

PGA – Both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson missed the cut in last weekend’s tournament.  That means they didn’t play well enough to play in the last two rounds of the tournament.  It’s the first time that both Tiger and Phil have missed the cut in the same tournament.   Tiger was coming off a win the week before and Phil looked fatigued.  This outcome leads to speculation and chatter about how they will far in the British Open starting July 19th.  It’s one of the big tournaments in the PGA season.

  • What kind of impact, if any, will this have on Tiger and Phil as they prepare for the British Open?