Boss Lady

How to use sport as a business networking tool

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Networking is something that every business person needs to be able to master. Networking opens the doors to new possibilities, clients and customers, vendor and supplier relationships, and even helps to get the word out about your brand. And while there are plenty of traditional and highly effective ways to network, sometimes they can start to feel a bit stagnant. In fact, it may even get to the point where it’s not giving you the type of return and results that you had hoped for.

If you’ve been feeling this way as of late, it may be time to shake things up again. Why not use something interactive and exciting instead? We’re talking about using sport as a business networking tool. But before you go ahead and book a tennis court or tee-off time, be sure to check out these tips on how to use it in the most effective manner possible.

Take advantage of the face time

One of the biggest advantages of using sport as a networking tool is that it provides you with that all-important face time. Often this can help to build trust, which isn’t always the case when using impersonal technology like emails and text messages. So, make sure to do lots of chatting while playing. At the same time, you don’t want to be over-selling your business, message, and goals, the course is meant to be casual.

Work the relaxed environment to your benefit

You also want to take advantage of the fact you’re outdoors, you’re in nature, you’re far from a boardroom, so there will be a more relaxed and friendly vibe. This could be ideal for those tough to read clients or the ones you just don’t feel like you’re connecting with. It may be the case that an environment change is necessary.

Set up another game

You can also take the initiative and set up another game. This provides your sport partner a date to look forward to, and you know you’ll get another opportunity to network without it feeling like a business meeting. Chances are the other person will be happy to schedule another game and jump at the chance, more so than a meeting in the office.

Don’t forget it doesn’t have to be one-on-one

And let’s not forget, a sports game doesn’t have to be just two of you. Instead, why not put together a foursome or a team and really expand your networking opportunities. Everyone will have a chance to converse and chat, forging a number of different relationships.

Don’t forget to brush up on your swing

Of course, if you plan on using sport as a business networking tool, you need to at least understand the sport and have some basic skills. There’s no better way to ensure this than by fitting in some practice time by yourself or at home. For example, you can use an indoor trainer for cycling, do some some tennis swing practice with an online coach, practice with a golf mat for golf, and focus not just on your swing and follow-through, but even your stance, how to judge distance, holding your club in the perfect way for your form, and so forth.

If you happen to be a more advanced player, there’s no reason you too can’t benefit from a little practice at home. At the very least it keeps you fit and at your peak game level, so you won’t be side-tracked by the game itself during the outing.

An engaging and effective networking tool

So, if you’re looking for a way to mix things up and inject your typical meetings and networking opportunities with some engagement, sport could be the answer. It’s all about getting out of the confines of an office environment so people can relax and have productive conversations.

About Joniel Suezo

joniels@thebusinesswomanmedia.com'

Joniel Suezo is an outreach specialist at Smashdigital, and hardworking mother of two – keen to get ahead and see other women do the same.

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