Posted on: December 3rd, 2012 by Jen Mueller

In business, it’s important to understand when to speak up and when to wait your turn.  Speaking out of turn can impact your image and affect the way co-workers think about you.

There are some conversations, however, when it’s appropriate and even encouraged to butt in – sports conversations.  When you come across a group of colleagues talking about Sunday’s big game, or the bowl matchups, don’t wait for your turn jump in with your opinion.  It’s one of the ways you can show assertiveness, which is a good quality to have in business.  It also shows that you can handle yourself in a group conversation, which could come in handy if you have to give group presentations or work on group projects.  In addition, if you’re part of the friendly banter and give and take of sports fans as they rib each other and challenge each other, you will demonstrate your ability to be a good sport.

Here are a few of the hot topics in the sports world this week.  Simply read the short summaries, click on the link if you want more information and use the questions provided to butt in this week.


NFL – New England, Denver and Atlanta became the first teams to clinch their divisions Sunday.  We’re getting down to the home stretch and every week means a little more.  The Kansas City Chief’s win meant a lot Sunday as it came 24 hours after one of their players committed suicide after killing his girlfriend. The Chiefs hosted Carolina and won.

Other storylines in the NFL this week include the NY Jets benching starting quarterback Mark Sanchez and the Seattle Seahawks (the team I work for) beat Chicago in overtime.

Questions you can use to start a conversation:

  • What stood out to you about this weekend’s games?
  • Which teams do you think are in the best position to make a playoff run?

Workplace Conversation StartersCollege football – The game we talked about last week turned out to be one of the best games of the weekend.  Georgia and Alabama played for the SEC title and Alabama won a thriller.  That means Alabama will play Notre Dame for the National Championship in the BCS title game.   The rest of the bowl game pairings were announced Sunday night.  You can read the complete list here.  One of the big stories is that Northern Illinois will play Florida State in the Orange Bowl.  That means that Louisiana Tech and the nation’s #1 ranked offense won’t be in a bowl game.  Northern Illinois is not in a automatic qualifying conference which is why it’s such an attention grabber.

Questions you can use to start a conversation:

  • What matchups do you disagree with?
  • What do you think of the Alabama-Notre Dame matchup?
  • Which game intrigues you most?

NHL – The players and owners are expected to meet Tuesday.  This is a new approach since mediators have not made any progress in the talks to end the lockout.  The hope is that the players and owners can get to the heart of the financial issues keeping the league from playing games.

Questions you can use to start a conversation:

  • Do you think that’s the best way to proceed?
  • How much interest or attention does hockey even command anymore?

NBA – The LA Lakers played Orlando for the first time since former Orlando star Dwight Howard was traded to LA.  Last week Howard admitted he could have handled the situation better, Sunday night he scored 21 points but Orlando beat LA.  Following the game, Howard walked off the court without shaking hands.

Question you can use to start a conversation:

  • What do you make of Howard’s reaction, not just to the game, but also to the rough start to the Lakers season? The blockbuster trade has not resulted in the wins expected by a championship level team.


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 in, sound intelligent, and understand how to leverage sports conversation 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