Blog post—Golf and Networking
We are just a few weeks away from the Go For the Greens Conference– are you going to join us? Lots of great workshops, lots of networking opportunities and a great golf event.
Speaking of golf– did you know that golf is a GREAT way to network and grow your business? And the good news is that you don’t have to bebe a great golfer… just good enough.
I’ve done some research and here is what most people agree is the definition of “good enough”:
1. You can hit the ball 100 yards off the tee
2. You can use an iron and hit about 75 yards on the fairway
3. Hit out of the bunker two out of three times
4. Get on the green
5. Limit the number of practice swings
6. Three putt or less on the greens
7. You know golf etiquette
8. You know when to give up and put the ball in your pocket.
Did you know that you can tell a lot about a person by the way they play golf? I was skeptical about this at first and then I started hearing stories and anecdotes that confirm this. Here’s an excerpt from a story in a Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine called “the10 Commandments of Golf”: “Several years ago, I happened to pair up with someone I hadn’t previously met at the Santa Fe Country Club, where I usually play. After a few holes, we discovered common professional interests: He was about to buy a local magazine — and after editing a travel magazine for several years– I was looking for a new opportunity. We had a lively discussion, with both of us thinking: “mmmm, kismet?” Then a curious thing happened. He preferred to drive his cart at top speed between shots and holes, whereas I liked to walk the course and take my time lining up each shot. At the end of 18 holes we exchanged numbers, but we both knew we’d never collaborate. Why? Because the way we played golf spoke volumes about the way we approached our professions.”
The moral of that story? People do business with people they like and respect… The golf course is a great place to find out if this is the type of person you want to do business with. How you approach golf is how you approach. How you play golf speaks volumes.
It’s no secret that women and men approach life and business differently. I asked a few guys I know who play golf what they like and don’t like about women golfers. The comments were very interesting:
Pet peeves: Not knowing the rules; not willing to consider the game like a competition; too much talking. Things women do right: Very courteous and complement great shots no matter who hits them; very tidy and repair ball marks; not taking the game too seriously and having fun; no bad language.
Here are 6 things to consider and remember when you play golf to network (from Geri Stengel, owner of Ventrueneer.com):
1. Pick your venue carefully– there are different types of golf courses: Public/private; 9 hole/18 hole; Difficult/easy
2. Know your elevator pitch– Who, what, where, when, why and how
3. Ask questions– make the discussion about them, not you
4. Go ready to give– go with the goal of giving something to them before you ask for their business. Set yourself up as a resource
5. Follow up
6. Take the pressure off– view this as an opportunity to get to know someone better. Remember the story above about the possible business partnership that fizzled after a round of golf??
I wanted to end this post with a funny joke about golf and women, but unfortunately most of the jokes I found were more insulting than funny. So I won’t share them. I’ll end instead with an inspirational quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.”
There are lots of resources and groups for women interested in learning to play golf. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you some links.