by Debbie Steinbach
The game of golf is the only sport that gives you four or five hours of uninterrupted time to talk to a potential business client and get to know him or her
That's Why Golf Is Such A Useful Skill For Any Businesswoman To Acquire.
Any women who is serious about getting ahead in business needs to look at incorporating the game of golf into her strategy for success. Some of the most successful male CEO’s in the country have. Business mega stars such as Jack Welch, Donald Trump, and Charles Schwab have all used business golf to further their business relationships.
Even dot-comers Bill Gates and Scott McNeely of Sun MicroSystems have added golf to their success strategies. If these nabobs of the old and new economies are utilizing golf in their business strategies, why shouldn’t women? Women can use golf for business to get ahead in the companies they work for and network with others outside their work place to get more business.
One of my closest friends and business advisors is a woman named Susan Pappas, from Connecticut. Susan is the owner and CEO of a marketing communications company called Pappas MacDonnell. We met at a golf tournament ten years ago, and we have been dear friends ever since. I am Susan’s pro when it comes to her golf game, and she is my pro when it comes to my business game. She is an 8 handicap in golf, and I am still a beginner in business.
I knew when I first met Susan that she was very good at what she does. It was evident by the way she handled herself during 18 holes of golf. She had a pre shot routine, a solid game plan, good concentration, and most important, she proved to have a strong mind, in other words, a good attitude. Susan is a great competitor, on the golf course and in the business arena. That is why to this day, I always choose Susan to be on MY team!
Despite the obvious business advantages, women often say they do not have the time to learn the game of golf.
The real question is, “Can a business women afford NOT to play golf?”
Consider the following qualities that successful business people share with successful golfers:
Face sudden changing conditions that require quick decisions
Process large amounts of information to make a decision
Require practice and preparation for a good performance
Perform under pressure
Rely on a positive attitude
The strategies used in golf apply to individual business performance and success. What better reason to play golf? Aside from what the game of golf can teach you that you can put into practice in your career, golf provides you with an opportunity to spend time with people and get to know them.
Where else but during a round of golf would you have four or five hours of essentially uninterrupted time to talk to someone and get to learn about his or her likes, dis-likes, philosophy on business and life? Not when you are playing tennis, hoops, or racquetball.
One thing for certain is that golf for women allows you to build personal relationships with the boss, potential clients, suppliers, and others. Influential or important people who are usually rushed or difficult to talk to during the day can be easily won over during a simple round of golf.
The game also gives you insight into the other person’s inner self. Watching how people conduct themselves while playing golf, which is above all a game of honor, will give you valuable insight into a person’s decision-making abilities, integrity, temperament, and sense of humor. A good sense of humor can mean the difference between a positive experience on the course, or a miserable one. A new contract, or a lost one.
Use this time to observe your partners and get to know them in a different light. Someone you meet on the first tee may end up being the business contact you have been waiting for and didn’t expect. Exchange cards at the end of the round and follow up while the golfing experience is still fresh in their minds.
Playing golf with clients and customers can be and is usually a bonding experience. Even if you are not playing your best, you can still enjoy the competition and have fun. In reality, nobody really cares about your score anyway. What your fellow golfers care about is that you know the rules, observe the correct etiquette, and keep up with the pace of play.
Be courteous and considerate. Most important, be aware of your own score so that there is no confusion and everyone knows that your integrity is in tact. If your riding partner is not keeping an honest score card, then you have learned a valuable lesson about them that you will remember next time you are in the board room.
An important note: rarely is business discussed during the round itself. Your game with your client or customer is for the purpose of creating an atmosphere for building a strong business relationship. The office is the place to actually do business. For some, the office may be the 19th hole, which is the bar or grill in the clubhouse, but for most business golfers, that location will arranged for a later date to be decided between the parties.
We can all choose to do business with anybody- it just so happens that most people choose someone they know, trust, and like. Often, this is what comes out of a simple round of golf for business.
My friend Susan Pappas has continued to grow her business since we first met 10 years ago. She would be the first to tell you that the game of golf has played a big role in that growth.
I have personally launched a new company of my own, VenusGolf, which empowers women in golf through books, tapes, and golf for women products. I have switched hats from a P.R.O. to a C.E.O.
If you are serious about growing your business, I strongly suggest you look into how you can grow it through this wonderful game.
Good luck and enjoy the journey.