Posted on: July 30th, 2012 by Jen Mueller

Are you on pace to reach your goals this year?

It’s the question at the heart of baseball’s trade deadline on Tuesday.  This is the point in the season that teams in position to make a playoff run add key players for a final push.  Teams that aren’t performing well will trade away players and start looking toward the next season.  It’s the goal of every team wants to make the playoffs and ultimately win the World Series.

Teams set goals before the season, just like many companies.  Now that we’re more than halfway through the season, you can use this time to evaluate and discuss what moves need to be made to reach those goals or reset for next year.

This is another example of how a sports conversation can work in business.  In this case, the focus isn’t on a particular game, team or player, the focus is on the overall discussion of goal setting and reaching professional goals.

So this week as you read through the sports conversation topics listed below, if you don’t feel like talking about the sport itself, use it to segue into a broader topic that can be applied to business.


Jen Mueller, Conversation Starters, Talk Sporty to MeMLB – Seems only fitting after that intro that we start with baseball.  Several teams made moves ahead of the trade deadline.  Here are a few of the big names that changed teams.  The Mariners traded Ichiro to the NY Yankees. The Brewers traded Zach Greinke to the LA Angels last week.  Francisco Liriano moved from Minnesota to the Chicago White Sox and the Florida Marlins traded Hanley Ramirez to the LA Dodgers.


Which player do you think will make the most impact for his new team?

  • The Philadelphia Phillies are likely to make a trade this week.  They were expected to be one of the best teams in the National League but they’re struggling.  Which other teams aren’t performing as expected?


Olympics – Each day brings a new storyline and you’re likely keeping up with your favorite sports and athletes already.  Here’s a story that made headlines on the first day of competition and one can be used in a bigger discussion at work.  Hope Solo the goalkeeper for the USA women’s soccer team, criticized 1999 World Cup hero Brandi Chastain for her broadcasting.  Solo suggested she learn more about defense before making comments on TV.  The trash talking raised some eye brows.

  • Chastain had previously said that Solo’s ego was necessary to dominate and be effective in goal.  Do you think Solo crossed a line?
  • If a colleague started trash talking about a former coworker, how would you respond?

NBA – The NBA released it’s 2012-2013 schedule last week.   The league will once again play a full 88 games, as opposed to the lockout shortened schedule they played last season.  The season officially opens October 30th when the defending champion Miami Heat face the Boston Celtics.  Christmas Day is usually a big day for the NBA.  The big matchup that day is a Finals rematch of the Heat and Okalahoma City Thunder.

  • Which games are you most looking forward to this season?
  • The Nets change their name from the New Jersey Nets to the Brooklyn Nets.  At what point in the season will announcers and fans remember to say the correct name?

NFL – Six football legends will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday in Canton, Ohio: Jack Butler, Dermontti Dawson, Chris Doleman, Cortez Kennedy, Curtis Martin and Willie Roaf.  Each one of them played a different position and their success was measure in different ways.

  • Can you think of one or two qualities that every Hall of Famer should have?
  • Do you have any memories of those guys on the field?


Jen Mueller, America’s Expert Talker, helps business professionals understand the sports conversations that happen every day at work.  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 for more information and read more at