Posted on: April 2nd, 2012 by Jen Mueller

I’m back in the flow after returning from Japan.  It was a long week of travel, work and conversations with strangers.  I’ll admit it was a little challenging for this expert talker to communicate with people who didn’t speak the same language.  I played a lot of charades when ordering food and trying to get directions, lots of pointing, motioning and what appeared to be funny dances.  The only time I didn’t have to do any of that, was during the baseball games I was there to cover in my capacity as a sports reporter for Root Sports.

The game of baseball is pretty much the same here in the States and in Japan.  Sure, there are different strategies and different players, but the same rules apply and the fans are just as enthused.  The trip was another important reminder that sporting events cross all kinds of barriers.  Last week, I watched as it crossed cultural and language barriers.  You probably aren’t heading overseas this week, but you might have to overcome your own communication barriers at work.  The coworker who just won’t open up and share an idea or maybe you’re trying to make a good impression on the vice president you see in the elevator every day, but don’t know what to say.

Why don’t you try incorporating these sports conversation topics into your small talk repertoire this week.  All you have to do is read the short summary, click on the link if you want more information and ask the questions provided.  You’ll be off and running and will quickly overcome those communication barriers.

Workplace Conversation Staters, Talk Sporty to Me

  • NCAA Men– Last night’s NCAA Championship game was billed as the showdown of all showdowns. They are the two most winning teams in college basketball history Kentucky and Kansas played for the championship.  Kentucky was a heavy favorite and came out on top, despite a late run from Kansas.   One of Kentucky’s best players, Anthony Davis, scored just 6 points, but still managed to dominate.
  • What did you think of the game? Kentucky coach John Calipari finally won a championship game.  Many people consider him somewhat of a villain in college basketball.  Did he deserve the win?

NCAA Women – In the women’s NCAA bracket, Baylor and Notre Dame will play for the National Title on Tuesday night.  A win by Baylor would give them a perfect season and push their record to 40-0 (that’s 40 wins and no losses.)  Baylor’s Brittney Griner is arguably the best women’s basketball player in the country.  She scored 32 points against Notre Dame earlier in the season.

  • How do you think that previous matchup will help both teams prepare?

MLB – The Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics officially opened the 2012 baseball season last week in Japan.  All the other teams get started this week.  The LA Dodgers will be among the teams to watch this year since the club was just sold to a group of investors and businessmen that include LA Lakers legend Magic Johnson.

  • Which teams will you be rooting for?
  • How does your team look coming out of Spring Training?

PGA The Masters gets underway Thursday in Augusta, Georgia. It’s the first Major of the year on the PGA tour.  (There are four major tournaments on the golf schedule.) Among the players to watch this week: Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Phil Mickelson.

  • Was Tiger’s win 2 weeks ago enough to put him on track and make him a favorite this week?  More than Mickelson who loves playing at Augusta and is playing well?
  • McIlroy could have won The Masters last year before a late meltdown is he older and wiser now to avoid such a misstep?

And if that’s not enough here are a couple more notes of interest this week… The NHL regular season comes to an end Saturday.  There are still teams trying to lock up their playoff position.  In the NFL, members of the New Orleans Saints who were suspended for their role in the Saints bounty system will appeal their suspensions this week.  A ruling on those appeals is expected to come quickly.


Overcoming Communication Barriers at WorkJen 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 to use sports conversations to their advantage 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