Welcome to another workweek and another chance to connect with your coworkers and colleagues. Anyone can talk about work when they’re at work, but you can be a breath of fresh air and offer your colleagues a chance to take a breather from the stress of their workday by serving up one of these sports conversation starters. I don’t have to tell you the advantages that come with having your coworkers on your side. You already know that your office will be a more comfortable place to work and that the people around you will work harder and work better together if you actually like them. Can that really happen from just one conversation? Yes! Because talking about something other than work shows you are taking an interest in your coworkers.
So what are you waiting for? It’s your chance to make an impression this week. One more note while we’re at it. If you ask one of these questions, and it’s met with a response that sounds like this, “I don’t know I didn’t watch the game.” Or maybe you hear, “I’m not really much of a sports fan.” Don’t panic, there’s nothing to worry about. Just be prepared to ask them a follow up question like “Oh, what did you do this weekend?” or “What kind of things do you do in your down time?” Simply showing an interest goes a long way, and these sports topics as your conversation starter is a safe entry point to get your there.
NFL – The NFL draft wrapped up this weekend. There are too many picks to count, but here are few names you can use to impress your friends. Andrew Luck was taken #1 overall by the Indianapolis Colts. That wasn’t a surprise, neither was the selection of Robert Griffin III (RG3) taken #2 by the Washington Redskins. The last pick in the draft is called “Mr. Irrelevant” and that honor this year went to Chandler Harnish of Northern Illinois. Strangely enough, he was taken by the Colts, who had the first and last pick in the draft.
- What did you think of the draft? Do you think Luck or RG3 will have a better rookie season?
- Many of the players selected are considered Pro Bowl candidates, but it appears the Pro Bowl is on the verge of being suspended. Should the NFL do away with their version of an All Star game or just change the rules to make it more competitive?
NBA – The playoffs are underway and one team already suffered a serious loss. Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls tore his ACL over the weekend in a first round matchup against Philadelphia. Rose missed several games this year with other injuries but this one will keep him out for about a year.
- How does this impact the Bulls chances at advancing in the playoffs and what happens going into next year?
- The injury also means Rose won’t be able to play in the Olympics this year. How does that impact the US team?
NHL – We’re down to the semi-final matchups in the Stanley Cup playoffs and that means 8 teams are left. The league announced the finalists for the Hart trophy last week, which is hockey’s version of an MVP award. Steven Stamkos of Tampa Bay, Henrik Lundqvist from the New York Rangers and Evegeni Malkin from Pittsburgh are the finalists but Malkin looks like the favorite right now because of his incredibly productive regular season.
- Pittsburgh lost in the first round of the playoffs. Is Malkin really the most valuable player if his team couldn’t make it past the first round?
- New York is the only top seed remaining in the playoffs, who do you like to win?
MLB – Bryce Harper made his major league debut Saturday with the Washington Nationals. Why does anyone care? The 19-year-old Harper is considered the top prospect in all of baseball and he’s also the youngest player in the majors since 2005. He was drafted #1 overall in 2010 and is expected to be exceptional. Harper dazzled in his debut, recording his first major league hit and playing solid defense in left field.
- What are the chances Harper pans out as a 19 year old?
- What does his call-up do for the Nationals who already have another phenom in the starting rotation in Steven Strasburg.
NCAA Football – It appears that college football fans are about to get their wish of a playoff system. The NCAA is looking at a version of the Final Four to decide the overall champion of the football season. Currently the champion is decided by a single game but entry into that game could be somewhat subjective. There are still many details to work out and its not clear how the current bowl games will fit in.
- Are you in favor of a playoff system?
- What are the pros and cons of setting up a final four that requires teams to play multiple games to be crowned winners?
Jen Mueller, America’s Expert Talker, helps business professionals understand the sports conversations that happen every day at work. She’s also helping them climb the corporate ladder through her program “What Do I Say?” Jen’s practical approach helps professionals join the conversations, sound intelligent, and understand how their communication skills can make ’em or break ’em in business. Her conversation strategy comes from her 12 years of experience as a sports broadcaster. Jen is available to speak for keynotes, presentations and workshops. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and read more at http://talksportytome.com