How to Build Your Business Network and Have Fun at The Same Time
Monday May 09, 2016
I’m sure you’ve been told countless times how important it is for your business or career to build a network.
But for many of us, building a network can feel like a chore. For some it can feel a little false. And for many it’s downright scary.
The good news is that there is a way to build such a network and have fun at the same time!
How? By playing golf.
It’s nothing ground-breaking, I’ll give you that. Often the most obvious answers to a problem seldom are. That’s because in our age of digital, online, social networking, high pressure, fast paced life, we often look for the ‘new push button’ way to solve a problem.
However sometimes doing the opposite of what the majority is doing is the most effective strategy.
The special setting and the pace of the game make it the ideal environment to relax and have meaningful conversation in a risk free environment, where hierarchies and formality are replaced by a level playing field.
But I don’t play golf!
The great thing about the sport is that the handicap system makes it easy for people of different abilities to play together.
If you’ve never hit a golf ball in your life, go to a nearby driving range and try it out first. You may be surprised how quickly you pick it up. And to speed up learning the basics, get a few lessons and you’ll be ahead of most of us ‘long time’ players who never did this and spent years figuring it out on our own!
A golf course is one of the best places to ‘Network’ in the world.
Why? Because of the time you spend with each person.
In the four hours it takes on average to complete a round (less if you do 9 holes, but just as effective), you to get to know people better than in 100 meetings or sales pitches.
Consider what it would do for the relationships with…
- Your colleagues: From the day you share a round of golf with a colleague you change how see each other. You’ll have a better understand of how to interact together. You may even laugh together for the first time! This leads to better collaboration as you get to know the person behind the job role.
- Your employer: Playing a round of golf with your manager or employer can improve your sense of belonging to the organisation. They can share stories, visions or ideas about the contribution you can make, and vice versa. At the same time knowing how your employer behaves in the face of the challenges (and there are plenty on a golf course!) can reassure you that you joined the right team and organisation.
- Current and potential clients: As the old saying goes “people buy from people they like”. Getting to know what your clients are like as a person means a relationship built on more than just business. Shared experiences, especially enjoyable ones, bring us all closer together giving us a sense of belonging to the same group. What do you think would lead to a better client relationship; a sterile business conversation each time you talk, or regaling about that shot on the difficult par 3 they nearly holed in one?
Of course we’re all busy. Golf is an investment of time that could be spent elsewhere.
But rather than constantly putting out fires, consider how much better your business or career would look if you could stop the spark that caused the fires in the first place?
Often the spark is poor or surface level relationships. As a shared round of golf can strengthen those relationships, that’s not a bad investment, it’s a smart one.
It’s fun too!
Gian Paolo Ziletti is the CEO of My Circle Golf, a new golf community that makes it easy for London golfers to find new playing partners using an innovative new mobile app.
There are a limited number of FREE lifetime memberships available during the pre-launch. Get yours today, now: