Posted on: May 31st, 2012 by Jen Mueller

Sports conversations don’t have to focus solely on a game, athlete or particular sport.  There are many conversations that start on a sports page but can help you talk about larger issues at work.

Here’s a headline ripped from a sports website this week: “Panthers’ Newton says he was a ‘bad teammate’.”

Sports fans will recognize that the headline is specifically referencing NFL Quarterback Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers.  In the article Newton admits he pouted, moped and acted immature during the season.  It’s all part of the reason he called himself a bad teammate.

Use Sports in Conversation to Boost Team MoraleFans and non fans alike recognize those actions are out of place on any team regardless to if you’re talking about a football team or your team at work.  This article provides a great starting point for a larger conversation about team chemistry, attitude and expectations.

Here’s how that conversation might start.


You: “Did you see the comments Cam Newton made this week?

Coworker: “No, what did he say?”

You: “He admitted he was a bad teammate last year and said he acted immature.”

Coworker: “Really? He was still pretty good at playing football.”

You: “It got me thinking about what makes a good teammate.  What are we doing here to help each other?  Are there things we can do better?”

As you can see, being a huge sports fan isn’t a requirement because this conversation just took basic facts from the story.  In addition, when a coworker brings up the football aspect you can steer the conversation in the direction you want it to go by talking about the teamwork aspect of the article.

If you needed to confront a ‘bad teammate,’ this is an easier scenario than pointing a finger and dealing with a defensive coworker.  And if you’re just looking to boost morale, it’s a concrete example that allows you to draw parallels to your daily activities.

It’s a win-win and just one example of how sports conversations are useful at work.

For the current sports topics for conversation starters, check out my weekly cheat sheets.

Download my eBook “Seven Simple Strategies for Improving Communication at Work” for more tips to improve workplace communications

Jen Mueller, America’s Expert Talker, helps business professionals understand the sports conversations that happen every day at work.  She’s also helping them climb the corporate ladder through her program “What Do I Say?” 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