While most golfers out on the green are there for the love of the game, or a little healthy competition, some use it to improve upon business relations. Sometimes business meetings are scheduled with a tee time, and sometimes connections randomly happen on the green. Here are some tips for working on your business and enjoying your favorite sport at the same time.
Don’t push it
Remember that most people are out on the course to enjoy a day of being outdoors, hanging with friends, and spending time working on their swing. If no one wants to talk about business, let it go. You can’t push networking on the green, if other players are receptive. While golf is great for networking, it was not designed specifically as a networking event. Break the ice, and talk about other things, like electric golf trolleys. If the conversation flows naturally, what you do and where you work will eventually come up.
Show up alone
If you’re really aggressive about meeting new people on the golf course, show up alone. It’s the best way to meet new people. If you show up alone, you will likely be placed in a foursome with other people. This is the perfect opportunity to engage in conversation and network. Find out what they do, who they are, and who they know. A full 18-holes is a long time to converse and the perfect time to network.
If you do intend to network, don’t show up empty handed. It’s always a good idea to have a couple of business cards on hand. Throw some in your golf bag, even if networking isn’t your main goal of the day. If someone wants to make personal plans after a day of golf, it’s still the easiest to hand them a business card.
A Golf Business Outing
If you’re planning a round of golf with business associates or partners, it can be best to plan the tee time with lunch or a happy hour in mind. Taking your course discussion to the lunch table or a happy hour bar, can be the best way to solidify future business plans or ideas. The meal will allow you to go into more detail about business projects that you wish to discuss.
Networking on the golf course can be a great way to get ahead in the world of business, but it has to be done right. Reading your audience can be key. Some people may just want to play golf, and leave the discussion of business behind at the office. If you’re meeting with new or potential business associates, playing a game of golf can be a low-key way to get to know them, and propose potential business ideas, out of an office setting.