Posted on: August 13th, 2012 by Jen Mueller

With so much hype around the Olympics the last two weeks, it’s hard to imagine the excitement simply fading away.

I saw this tweet Sunday that made me stop and think.

Staying relevant.  That’s hard to do for Olympic athletes who won’t get another shot at the games for another 4 years.  They have to work quickly to capitalize on their fame and name recognition now.

If you’ve been talking about the Olympics with your co-workers you could be in a similar position.  It’s easy to stay ‘top of mind’ and in the discussion when world records are being set every night and there are emotional storylines that intrigue viewers as much as the competition itself.  But can you stay there, now that the Olympics are over?

You see, the conversations don’t become any less important.  The rapport you’re building, the connections you’re making – they’re key in business.

To stay relevant you have to shift your focus and identify new topics to discuss with your co-workers.  If you don’t know where to start, try using this question. “Now that the Olympics are over, who are you going to cheer for?”  That open-ended question can start a discussion on a favorite, team, sport, player or a hobby that has nothing to do with sports.

If you’re looking for more ways to stay relevant this week, try talking about these headline-making sports topics.


Olympics – The much hyped- USA Men’s basketball team defended its Olympic title, defeating Spain for the gold medal.  It was a close game and took a 4th quarter run to lock up the win.  This year’s team was proclaimed the “New Dream Team” making the comparison to the “Dream Team” that won gold in Barcelona 20 years ago.  That team however never played in a game as close as this year’s title game.

  • Does this help settle the debate on which team was better?
  • Kobe Bryant and Coach Mike Krzyzewski have said this was their final Olympic appearance.  What does that do to the US teams going forward?

NBA – The rumors about Dwight Howard going to LA finally became reality.  It’s a topic we touched on a couple times here in Conversation Starters.  He was traded from Orlando to the Lakers last week as part of a four-team, 12-player trade.  The move makes the Lakers a favorite to contend for a title this year.

  • How do you think Howard will fit in with Kobe, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol?  Each are big name players trying to build team chemistry.
  • It’s expected that Howard will sign a long-term deal and lead the team after Kobe retires in a couple seasons.  Do you think this adds any extra pressure to succeed now and prove he can carry the team?

NFL – The NFL preseason is in full swing and many of the early storylines involve quarterbacks.  Peyton Manning made his debut in Denver.  It’s the first time he’s played in a game since 2010. He missed all of last season after undergoing neck surgery.  Rookie Andrew Luck threw a 63 yard touchdown pass in his first throw for the Indianapolis Colts.  And in Washington DC, Robert Griffin III made his Redskins debut.  He struggled early but showed enough flashes that fans are excited about the year.

  • Do you think Peyton Manning will be able to regain his old form?
  • Preseason games aren’t anything like regular season games, so how much stock do you put in these games?

PGA Championship – Golf’s fourth and final major of the year wrapped up Sunday.  Rory McIlroy won rather easily.  It was his second ‘major’ win and again becomes the world’s top-ranked golfer.  He is also the first 54-hole leader to win a major this year, meaning he was solid start to finish.  Critics wondered if he was focused enough this season after a recent slump.

  • Do you think this win is enough to get Rory back on track?

Tiger Woods finished in 11th place.  He hasn’t won a major since 2008 but is the only player on the PGA tour this year with 3 wins.  He used to be known as a player who could close out the final round of a tournament, but he’s struggled to do so this year.

  • What do you think all of this means for Tiger and his future?


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 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