Golf as a Networking Tool
Strengths in Playing Golf
Everybody knows that it’s not what you know, but whom. Creating, maintaining and growing networks of business contacts however are difficult and time-consuming tasks, and unfortunately there is no silver bullet, no quick and easy answer. There are however, useful and practical tools for accomplishing this goal. You probably have the mental image of middle aged business men standing around in striped shirts and Khakis pants chatting while they lean on stainless steel clubs, discussing the details of their business plans. However clichéd this image may be, it’s based on a real idea, the idea of using Golf as a networking tool. Golf is a valuable way of creating and maintaining those invaluable relationships that you depend on for your livelihood. By playing golf with current and future business contacts you can show them what kind of a person you are, create lasting interpersonal relationships and, of course, create a relaxed, low stress environment where you can propose and discuss matters of business. Golf, if used properly can be an ideal environment for establishing the relationships that will determine the success of your business.
Competitive sports bring out both the best and the worst in people everywhere. They foster trust and friendship among team members and competitors alike. However, on a daily basis we hear of un-sportsman like and dishonest behavior, whether that is game rigging or illegal drug use. People’s reputations are made and destroyed on an almost daily basis in professional sports. The same applies for any competitive sport played among business associates. The game you play is a reflection of who you are and the trust you merit. An honest, well played game of golf, will increase people’s confidence and trust in you as an individual. Snap judgments will be made about whom you are, how you behave when you are winning or losing, and how dedicated you are to the activities you undertake. People will be able to decide fairly quickly whether or not they can trust you based on the game you play and the way you treat those you play with.
Golf Over Other Networking Tools
The confidence people develop in you will play a major role in the relationships you can form with them. People may know off the bat if they can trust you or not, but relationships are based on the time we commit to them. There’s no way around it. If you want people to trust you, you need to give them time. Large public gatherings are very impersonal and individual one on one time there is often short. Business lunches are short and more often than not in large noisy public spaces. Playing 18 holes of golf often requires players to commit to several hours of time spent in a quiet, generally private environment. The time you take from your busy schedule to devote to this shared experience shows that you personally care about your associates. Technically you could make the same argument about almost any other competitive sport: soccer, basketball or softball. All these sports promote friendship and require a sacrifice of time. However, golf does have a very real advantage over these other sports.
An Environment for Networking
Golf fosters an environment that is ideal for discussing business. It’s rather difficult to discuss business with associates who are at the other side of the field yelling at the top of their lungs “I’m open, I’m open,” or when you can hardly draw your breath after sprinting down the court for a lay up. That’s not to say that golf is necessarily easy. As a matter of fact it is a game that requires great skill. However, golf is a game that is played outside, in beautifully maintained green lawns amid ponds, sand traps and trees. Perfectly manicured landscapes and quite concentration create an environment where you can talk to your associates without the worry of being interrupted or cut short. You don’t have to worry about taking a short pause, because it probably won’t make you miss your shot. You see; golf is an invaluable tool for businessmen and women alike. It’s a real opportunity to show others who you are and learn more about your current and future associates. Furthermore, it lends itself to discussing business and fostering the relationships that will assure your future success. Take a swing at it and don’t miss out.
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