"women talk business on the golf course"By Jen Mueller

You’ve probably run across colleagues who schedule 18-hole meetings from time to time. On the surface it looks like an excuse to get out of the office and play a round of golf, but there’s real value in spending an afternoon on the course and most women miss out.

Playing golf isn’t about closing the deal. It’s about building the rapport that leads up to that deal, meeting new people who can engage in a future business transaction and opening new doors of opportunity. Here’s the key point most women don’t realize – the opportunities exist independent of your results. That means you don’t have to be the best golfer on the course, or even consider yourself a good golfer.

Here are just a few examples of how golf benefits you from a professional standpoint.

Golf allows you to enter the conversation. Simply being able to say “I played golf this morning.” Or “I’m heading to the driving range after work,” conveys an interest in the sport and opens the door for further conversations. Being included in those conversations means that you will be around when the conversation turns to business. That is something to which you can attach real value.

A bad round of golf helps build rapport. It’s very similar to the old adage “misery loves company.” Every golfer has struggled through a bad round. Having a bad round is part of the game and allows you to commiserate with every other golfer. There’s no reason to hide from a bad day on the course. When everyone else starts talking about their tough day, you can chime in with your own “horror story.” It’s another way to gain entry into a conversation and build rapport that’s necessary for business transactions.

Playing golf gives insight into your character. The way you carry yourself on the course allows your colleagues, potential clients and customers an opportunity to see how you handle stressful situations. When you miss a shot, do you yell, stomp or pout? Or do you handle it with grace and pressure, and in a way they would expect you to act in the workplace. Golf is another avenue to showcase your character, integrity, work ethic and communication skills, use it to your advantage.

If you’re not yet a golfer there are still ways to use golf to your advantage. For example, volunteer to go along and drive the golf cart. It allows you to participate without needing a set of clubs. Or you could look into sponsoring a particular hole or tee box at an upcoming golf tournament. Don’t just put your company logo on a sign, spend the day next to that sign engaging with each person who’s on the course. That’s valuable face time you can use to make a good impression and increase the chances of future business.

Jen Mueller, America’s expert talker, is rarely at a loss for words. She’s currently a sports reporter in Seattle for Root Sports NW and the CEO of Talk Sporty to Me, a company that helps others speak more confidently, improve their communication skills and build stronger relationships. Learn more about Jen Mueller here: http://getyourbusinessoncourse.com/speakers/jen-mueller/