Make Sports Useful in Business: Relationship Building

Posted on: September 21st, 2018 by Jen Mueller

Athletes don’t have to talk to me.

There’s certainly no requirement that says an athlete has to be nice to me.

It’s their choice.

But I try to make it as easy as possible for them do both by building relationships and being pleasant to be around.

It might surprise sports fans to realize athletes can always refuse an interview with me, even though I’m the sideline reporter charged with getting the interview. There are league requirements that athletes be made available for interviews and that reporters have access to talk to players. But that doesn’t guarantee they’ll do it or offer a favorable response.

People have to want to talk to you on their own.

How are you going to make it easy for colleagues to want to talk to you?

My suggestion? Small talk.

Every conversation you have with colleagues provides another data point they can use to get to know you. Repeated conversations provide a picture of who you are. Those conversations don’t have to be long and they shouldn’t be about work. Find a conversation topic – like sports – that gives you multiple connection points. Sports conversations aren’t just about sports. They can be the start of a relationship that makes it easier for colleagues to want to talk to you.

Follow Talk Sporty to Me on Instagram where Jen provides weekly sports topics and videos that highlight parallels between sports and business communication.

Jen Mueller is badass at business communication. Her ability to communicate effectively has led to a 18-year sports broadcasting career. She currently serves as the sideline reporter for the Seattle Seahawks and is a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team on ROOT Sports. Yes, she talks sports, but there’s more to it that. She provides conversation strategies that increase confidence, improve communication and increase productivity in any workplace. Interested in hiring Jen for your next conference or training? Send an email: