Posted on: August 26th, 2013 by Jen Mueller

Based on the number of emails I’ve received over the last week, summer is over.  Colleagues are back from vacation, kids are getting ready for school and there’s a general sense that everyone is ready to get back to work.

When it comes to being productive at work don’t overlook the value of small talk.

Little conversations throughout the day help build rapport and relationships with coworkers.  People around you get to know you and like you more through those conversations.  When you have that kind of rapport it’s much easier to promote teamwork, get more done and be more productive during the day.

The key to small talk?  Choosing a productive conversation topic.  I recommend sports because of the broad appeal and the follow-up opportunities.  Here are a few sports story lines making news this week.

Making News:

  • Derek Jeter
  • NFL Cuts
  • Alabama Crimson Tide
  • Roger Federer


  • Yankees captain Derek Jeter is expected to return to the Yankees lineup Monday night.  Jeter has played in just 5 games this season due to a number of injuries.  The most recent was a calf strained suffered on August 3rd.   The Yankees start the week 7 games behind the division leading Red Sox.
  • This is the final week of the NFL preseason schedule.  Every team in the league must cut their roster to 75 players by Tuesday.  Rosters will be trimmed to 53 players following the last preseason games this weekend.
  • The college football season starts this week with games on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday this week.  Alabama is the defending national camps.  The Crimson Tide open their season Saturday.  Alabama is ranked #1 in the preseason polls followed by Ohio State, Oregon and Stanford.
  • Roger Federer enters the U.S. Open this week as the 7th ranked men’s tennis player in the world.  That’s his lowest ranking since 2002.  He holds a record 17 Grand Slam men’s singles titles, but many are wondering whether he’s lost his edge.


America's Expert Talker in Relationship Building and Growing Your InfluenceJen 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.