Jen Mueller bills herself as an “expert talker,” and she has the credibility to back up that claim. She can be spotted in the locker room and on the sidelines of Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners games, chatting with players about big wins, tough losses, and everything in between. With ROOT Sports, she was even the first person to talk to Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez moments after his historic perfect game.
As a sideline reporter, talking sports is her job, but as a speaker and an author she’s a big advocate of the idea that talking sports can help anyone get ahead in business.
Mueller’s book Talk Sporty to Me: Thinking Outside the Box Scores (Norsemen Books, $24.95) is a how-to guide for incorporating sports into everyday business conversation.
In the book, Mueller covers the untapped potential of small talk in general. She said she wanted to write something that would show how important it can be to establish relationships through shared interests that might lead to bigger things.
“You can’t just talk about business,” Mueller said. “There’s got to be a rapport. Sports is that entry point.”
That’s the ethos behind both the book and Mueller’s business of the same name, Talk Sporty to Me, a communication training company.
Sports is a safe bet to be someone’s passion in an office space or business relationship. Mueller cites a study in the book that half of all Americans say they watch some sort of sport. And in the Northwest, Sundays and Blue Fridays prove that a whole lot of people tune into Seahawks football. Mueller would know; she works with the team as a sideline reporter for Seahawks Radio (a gig that earned her a Super Bowl ring).
Mueller says small talk, which includes talking about the big game, is something that is underutilized in business situations. It establishes a relationship and allows for follow-up conversations.
“I don’t think people strategize (small talk),” she said.
Her advice comes with a warning: Don’t be “that fan.” Don’t deride officials, mock other teams, and, basically, be a jerk about your team. There’s a flipside: Being a good and enthusiastic fan of your team can show people your dedication and potential for loyalty.
“Everything you say is a way for people to decide what they think about you, what they feel about you,” she said.
To learn more about Talk Sporty to Me, or to hire Mueller as a speaker, visit the company’s website.
Mueller’s book, and her previous release, Game Time: Learn to Talk Sports in 5 Minutes a Day, are available on Amazon or Mueller’s website.