Different kinds of sports attract different kinds of crowds. The crowd at Flamingo Bowl is way different than the one at a golf course. One thing which sets golf apart from other popular sports is that only the ‘elite’ can afford to play it. The cost of the sport sets an economical barrier which only successful business owners, affluent managers, and well-off executives and professionals can afford to get through.
THE CONNECTION BETWEEN GOLF AND BUSINESS WORLD
Usually, a group of four players pair up for a game. And these four players often share similar backgrounds; for instance, all four could be successful entrepreneurs, or executives. One round of golf is known to last for 4 hours. This gives enough time for the players to exchange long conversations and to get acquainted with each other well enough. So if you intend to build a network with these influential people, getting into golf would be a brilliant move. The more you play, the more time you get to spend with them. You listen to their ideas and thought-processes, and you share your innovative mind, while enjoying a strategic game.
It’s highly impossible that four business people spend 4 hours together and do not discuss business related things. Being around, you might pick up opportunities just by listening to them. Someone might be concerned with finding ways to save on merchant services, while another teammate might be on the lookout for innovative marketing ideas. Here’s where you can step forward and offer solutions (framed as suggestions). As a group member, you’d receive some good level of trust and you’ll have the chance to speak more openly. Meeting a person in an outdoor environment rather than an office place makes a lot of difference.
During these game sessions, you also get to hear some of the ‘inside stories’ about certain corporate houses or government policies. Also, things like upcoming business models or products in development phase get discussed too.
BECOMING A FAMILIAR FACE
Playing golf can also be fruitful if you want to become a known face to your company’s CEO or a big corporate client. On the golf field during a game, every participant is merely a player, regardless of their social status in the outside world. Imagine what spending 4 hours with your top boss can do for you. Chances are that you might get more recognition in the office than compared to your other buddies who spend their leisure time by going for bowling.
KEEP YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME TOO
Building relations with the top brass through golf is brilliant; but make sure to remember who you’re dealing with. You have to show interest in the game and play it with the required golfer’s spirit. Playing golf is fun, so it won’t take much effort. Paying attention to the sport will automatically blend you in with the other players. If they find that you’re less interested in the clubs and the ball compared to chatting with them, they would start maintaining distance from you. But if your mind is in the game, then the pace of your ‘chit-chat’ will appear completely natural. And you’ll be counted as one of them.
EASY WAYS TO BLEND IN
One of the best ways to get oriented with the game is to ask for tips and ideas for the game. Your elite teammates will be willing to share their knowledge with a newcomer, which would make them appear as professionals. Who wouldn’t like the feeling of that! Let them have their ‘moment’ while you learn the game.
Ask about the different stances or positions required for hitting certain kind of shots. But do your own homework on understanding the various clubs – woods, irons, wedges, and putters – and other basics of the game. You are not their student. You’re expected to be a golf enthusiast, who is on the field to enjoy the game and improve performance. This is the kind of image you need to build, maintain, and carry.
Another good technique is to get acquainted with the terms/jargons related to golf. Learn the language. Every sport has its language. Develop the ears and the tongue required for it. Picture yourself in a meeting with your colleagues and the CEO (or your client), who’s also your golf buddy. Now during the meeting, some problem or idea is brought up by one of the participants. In that instance, you translate it into your golf language and blurt it out. What will happen? There are high chances that you and the CEO (or client) would share an instant smile, because you two would be the only two people to understand it. A connection gets built! These are small things, but they contribute in the creation of long term relationships.
In your spare time, instead of sticking to the regular habit of checking social networking sites, go through online content on golf. Knowing the name ‘Tiger Woods’ isn’t enough. Watch a few games and get acquainted with related events and news. With little effort and interest, you’ll soon find yourself turning into a natural golfer.
There are instances where a group of executives who have played golf with each other for a long time have created alliances and started business ventures. Then, there are scenarios wherein business leaders start a game by bringing up some half-baked business strategy and by the end of that game, they have a full-fledged strategy ready for execution. With one game – one strategy is ready with everyone on board.
The benefits of this kind of discussion are numerous: People speak freely to each other, listen more attentively to the other person, everyone’s highly energetic, and even the weakest of ideas which can cause embarrassments in conference rooms are blown off with laughter in the open fields.
Due to golf, business ideas, relations, and alliances get developed without adding stress. What can be more beneficial than doing your usual business networking out in the open fields while playing a good game of golf?