05.14 Talk Sporty to Me: Increasing Your Value at Work

Talk Sporty to Me is your monthly cheat sheet to the hottest, most talked about sports topics.

Jen Mueller America's Expert TalkerWhat do you offer at work?

What do you do outside the specific skill set needed to your job?

Are you as valuable to your employer as you think you are?

That last question is a tough one.  We all want to feel valued for our work.  It gives us a sense of accomplishment and security, but in this highly competitive economy it’s hard to know when you’ve done ‘enough’ to be valuable.

Before the panic sets in, and you start wondering how many more tasks you can accomplish today, I want to suggest a new way to show value without adding to your to-do list.  Let’s increase your value by improving your communication skills.

You can do this any number of ways and get results, but this month I want you to focus on your ability to make small talk and put people around you at ease.  So often these days technology does the heavy lifting when in comes to communication.  You know, all the emails, text messages, Facebook posts, Twitter updates…  There’s nothing wrong with any of it – unless it’s taking the place of actual conversations.  Business requires personal interactions and the better you are at them, the more value you offer and the greater your leverage.

Here’s where the Talk Sporty piece of equation comes it.  There is a large segment of the population that considers themselves sports fans.  If you can relate to them or at least strike up a conversation you’ve put yourself in a good position to put them at ease, build rapport and get business done.

And before we go any further, let’s be clear about something.  This is not about trying to be one of the guys, or placating the sports fans in your office.  This is about you taking full advantage of all the business tools available.  Sports conversations are a huge asset in business. 

With that said, here are a few things sports fans are talking about this month.


NBA – The playoffs have reached the conference semifinals.  I’ll be watching the series between the LA Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder.  It’s tough to watch the Thunder after covering them as a reporter when they were the Sonics, but it will be a great matchup between the leagues two top scorers – Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant.  In addition to the storyline provided by Meta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest) when he viciously elbowed OKC’s James Harden at the end of the regular season.

NHL – The Stanley Cup playoffs are in the conference final round.  The winner of the New Jersey Devils and NY Rangers series will play the winner of the Phoenix Coyotes and the LA Kings in the Finals.

Both the NHL and NBA playoffs will wrap up in mid June – so keep that on your radar until then.

MLB – Baseball is now an everyday occurrence.  The best way to follow baseball is to pick one team or one player and check in on the scores two or three times a week.  If you love baseball then watch all that you can handle, but it can be very overwhelming at first.  If you check in on the score of your favorite team or the headlines in general, you’ll get a pretty good idea of what’s going on.

Right now, fans are talking about the hot bat of Texas’ Josh Hamilton. He’s on a torrid pace right now, something that LA’s Albert Pujols is likely jealous of.  The Angel’s big bat has hit just one home run so far this season, which is not what fans are used to seeing from Pujols.  Looking for another hot-button baseball topic – how about Josh Beckett and the Red Sox.  Beckett missed his last start after hurting himself during a round of golf.  Then he angered fans by snottily commenting that he could do what he wanted to on his days off.  Drama?  Absolutely.

That’s enough to get you up to speed this month.  Remember taking a quick glance at headlines on a daily basis will help you stay up to speed and allow you to become a valuable conversationalist at work.  Engaging in small talk is the first step toward building stronger relationships and those allow you to get more done each day.

Next month I’ll show you how to make the long baseball season work to your advantage – especially if you’re in sales and trying to secure new clients.


Jen Mueller

Jen Mueller writes the monthly blog feature Talk Sporty to Me - your monthly cheat sheet to sports. You’ll get info on the hottest topics, and learn how to talk like pro without watching every game! Jen, creator and founder of Talk Sporty to Me, is rarely at a loss for words. Her passion for talking and sports led to a career in sports broadcasting. She is an anchor/reporter/producer at FSN Northwest and the Seahawks radio sideline reporter. In addition to her work on-air, Jen is a high school football official. Check out her site TalkSportyToMe.com, which is where you can also find links to her Facebook and Twitter profiles.

* This post is from a Girl Power Hour featured blogger. It is not written, edited or endorsed by Girl Power Hour. The authors are solely responsible for content.

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