Posted on: July 22nd, 2013 by Jen Mueller

Being well prepared is part of being a smart professional.  As Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson is fond of saying, ‘the separation is in the preparation.’  That applies to your conversations as well as other aspects of your job.

Having ready-made conversation topics put you in a better position to build rapport in a conversation and help avoid awkward exchanges.  Sports should be your go-to small talk topic because of the diversity and wide appeal.  Here are the topics you’ll likely hear about this week.

Making News:

  • Phil Mickelson
  • Alex Rodriguez
  • Sean Payton
  • Johnny Manziel
  • Chris Froome

Why They’re Making News:

  • Phil Mickelson won the British Open Sunday.  Mickelson shot a 66 in the final round to seal his first British Open win.  It’s his 5th overall major win.
  • Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was expected to join the team for the first time this season on Monday.  Until an MRI revealed a strain in a quad muscle in his leg.  He will remain on the DL for the time being.
  • New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton returns to the sidelines this week with the start of NFL training camps.  Payton was suspended all of last season for his role in “Bounty Gate.”  His return and impact on the Saints is one of the many storylines to follow throughout camp.  This signals the start of the football regular season is about 6 weeks away.
  • Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, also known as “Johnny Football,” has come under intense scrutiny in the last week. Manziel won the Heisman trophy last year as a freshman and was participating in a passing camp as a coach/counselor.  He overslept, missed meetings and arrived late.  Things could get interesting in College Station this year.
  • Chris Froome won the Tour de France Sunday.  Froome held the race lead for 13 stages.  As you might imagine given the history of the sport, there is scrutiny and speculation as to if Froome used banned substances, which he swears he did not.


Jen Mueller, America’s Expert Talker, is the author of Game Time: Learn to Talk Sports in 5 Minutes a Day for Business. After 13 years in sports broadcasting, Jen wrote the go-to resource for novice and first-time sports fans in the business world.  Her step-by-step process makes sports accessible and practical for relationship building in business.  The book is available through Amazon.