Posted on: July 23rd, 2012 by Jen Mueller

Sports fanatics and novices will be engaged in conversations this week, as there’s a little something for everyone on the docket.  The Olympics open this weekend bringing you a world of conversation topics – literally.  First, if you’re not an every day kind of sports fan this is the perfect time to jump in because the Olympics last for 3 weeks and you don’t need to know any of the storylines leading up to the events to enjoy them or talk about them.  Secondly, if you’re not into the actual games and competition you can talk about the location, which is London, England.  Or you could concentrate on the different cultures and countries taking place in the Games.   Third, the Games involve both team and individual sports which can appeal to two very different fan bases.

If you take the time to watch any of the Games don’t hesitate to bring it up at work.  You can use the topics mentioned above to learn a lot about your coworkers.  Do they prefer team sports and therefore enjoy group projects or would they prefer to work on their own like an athlete from an individual sport?  Have they traveled the world?  Can they use that knowledge of other cultures to benefit others at work?

You never know what you’ll find out until you ask.  Here are some conversation starters to get the ball rolling.  One quick note before we start.  The Penn State football team will be making headlines this week, but using it as a conversation starter could lead to hot button issues, which don’t make good workplace discussions.  I’d stay away from that one around coworkers.


Olympics – The Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Summer Olympics takes place Saturday in London.  The celebration kicks off the 3 week event.  There are 30 events on the schedule and many favorite athletes in the hunt for medals.  We’ll keep an eye on storylines as they unfold, but for now you can talk in general terms about the games.

  • What is your favorite Summer Olympic sport?
  • Which athletes are you looking forward to watching?

NFL – Are you ready for some football?  Training camps open across the league this week.   The start of training camp means we’re 6 weeks away from the regular season.  Teams will use this time to get conditioned for the regular season and become familiar with new teammates, coaches and schemes.  There are many storylines to watch including quarterbacks both old (like Peyton Manning) and new (like Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III.)  We’ll be providing questions to ask throughout the preseason, here are a few to get you started.

  • What happens to the Saints without head coach Sean Payton.  He was suspended for the entire season due to his roll in “Bounty-gate?”  Where will the leadership come from?
  • Peyton Manning returns after missing all of last season with a neck injury.  How do you think he bounces back, especially since he joined a new team in the Denver Broncos?


NBA – The Dwight Howard saga continues.  The Orlando Magic big-man wants out of Orlando, but he’s making it difficult for Orlando to move him.  Last week it appeared he was heading to the LA Lakers, but that move is now on hold.

  • What has this back and forth saga done to his reputation?  Do you perceive him more as a selfish player or one who’s just trying to make the most of his career?

Jeremy Lin signed a deal with the Houston Rockets last week after the New York Knicks failed to match the Rockets offer.  Lin took New York by storm last year and “Linsanity” became a great marketing piece for the team.  According to one article published after Lin signed with the Rockets, the stock price of Madison Square Garden Entertainment (who owns the Knicks) has dropped sharply.

  • What kind of impact will Lin have in Houston both on and off the court?  How will his departure impact the Knicks?


British OpenAdam Scott had a chance to win, but he fell apart with a four-stroke lead and four holes left to play in the final round.  Ernie Els took advantage and won his second British Open title.  Tiger Woods came apart midway through the round, but finished tied for 3rd place.  It was his highest finish in a major since 2009.

  • Adam Scott is one of the best players in golf who hasn’t won a major.  How will he recover from this meltdown?


Tour de France – The Tour de France ended Sunday.  Bradley Wiggins became the first Briton to win the prestigious race.  Wiggins said last year’s race was a motivating factor this year.  Wiggins broke his collarbone last year and wanted to know what he felt to win this year.  In addition to his own win, Wiggins helped teammate Mark Cavendish win his fourth straight sprint victory.

  • Wiggins is an outspoken critic of doping in cycling.  He called this year’s race “more human” and said that led to what some consider a boring race.  What do you think of the sport’s reputation and credibility?
  • Wiggins helped a teammate achieve a goal and repaid Cavendish for his help earlier in the race.  Who in your group can you help reach a goal?


Workplace Conversation Starters BlogJen 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 for more information and read more at