Networking = Golf
This is not news. Business professionals (mainly men) have used golf as a valuable networking resources as long as the sport has existed. It’s an excellent way to spend hours with a client or prospect in a low stress, highly enjoyable atmosphere.
While I understand the networking possibilities, it wasn’t until HR consultant Aline Ayoub held an educational session on networking followed by a golf lesson that I realized the metaphor. Learning to golf is like learning to network.
Full disclosure – I’m not a golfer. I understand the concept, and when I have a club in my hand, I want to smash that ball Happy Gilmour style. And believe it or not, sometimes I can. I can hit that thing pretty well – the one time out of 100 that I make contact. The rest of the time, I’m fumbling it, hitting it into the woods, or – most often – missing the ball entirely.
So, when I had the chance to spend an hour with a golf pro (in our case, the quite excellent Justin Tomasulo – www.jtgolf.ca), I took it. Even though we were to discuss networking first, I clearly didn’t need any help with that – I’m a friendly extrovert – what could I possibly need to learn about the art of networking?
Hmmm…turns out, quite a bit. I approach networking the same way I approach golfing – by swinging that club as hard as I can with no finesse and certainly no follow through. Networking, like golf, is a process.
Justin’s main lessons focused on preparation – getting ready to play golf requires careful placement of your hands, feet, back, bum, and arms. It’s a slow and steady process – a math equation that to beginners is more science than art.
Aline’s main lessons – getting ready to network requires careful preparation – study the event, prepare yourself, and know what you’re going to discuss. Be memorable, engaging, but also calculating. And, the follow up is more important than the initial discussion. Like Justin’s techniques, Aline’s are very much the math equation – do x + y + z, and you’ll build trust, create relationships, and ultimately, gain new clients.
After only a half an hour on the driving range, I was successfully hitting balls. Maybe not as far as I’d like, but certainly more than the 1 in 100 I was previously hitting. And with Aline’s advice, my networking skills did improve and contrary to what my mother taught me I do talk to strangers.
Great news! Aline has added an additional Golf & Networking session on September 22! For more details, please click here.
Raised in a small town in Newfoundland, Nadine headed west after graduating and fell in love with the bustle of Toronto. Her true passion is marketing and she’s spent the last 15 years in marketing roles, and is the co-founder and CEO of the Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals (CAMP). When she’s not connecting with other marketers through CAMP, Nadine is at the soccer field, gym, or swimming pool cheering on her two favourite munchkins, trying not to become that mom everyone fears.