October 24, 2011

Business Women And Golf

Why is golf a good sport for today`s businesswoman?


Women often find it difficult to participate in sports due to the demands of a job, family, and the fact that sport activities often require multiple participants.

Therefore, a smart woman should select an activity she can do on her own time as well as with others and make that activity a regular part of her life. Golf fits that description.

  • You can play with others of vastly different ability
  • You can enjoy the game on your own, as well as in the company of others.
  • You can include the whole family in a friendly game of golf
  • Many of today`s business people use golf as a vehicle for making contacts and doing business.

How can sports help you in business?
Sports provide an important social setting and may be a critical asset for women trying to advance in today`s business world.

A study by the Foundation found that many working women golfers have surprisingly extensive athletic histories. Eighty-four percent of the women interviewed, reported having been involved in organized athletics at some point in their lives.

Also, almost 60% played youth sports, more than half played high school sports, 20% played college sports, and 44% had been either a captain or coach (Women`s Sports Foundation, 1999).

In addition, some listed golf and sports/fitness activities primarily as a fitness activity and secondarily as a sport. Women golfers possessed the highest physical and mental health or all study participants (Women`s Sports Foundation, 1999).

There are three basic ways to use your knowledge of sport to advance your business effectiveness:

1. “Breaking the Ice” with a new business contact
People are more likely to do business with people who they perceive have the same values and interests.

One of the reasons why minority groups have such trouble receiving a fair shake in employment decisions is simply because people unknowingly feel more comfortable being with other people who are just like them.

White males are more likely to hire other white males than African-American men or women. We are afraid of people and situations we are not familiar with or don’t understand. When we have a chance to interact in a social setting with people who are not like us, we have the opportunity to discover common values and interests thereby defining our sameness rather than differences.

When we do this, we are much more open and comfortable playing and doing business with each other.

A good way for women to begin a meeting with men or others they don’t know is to ask that person if they participate in sports or fitness. Successful businesspeople are often active in sports and fitness activities.

When the person replies in the affirmative and begins talking about their sport or fitness interest, there is an immediate assumption that you and your associate have something in common– even if the other person is doing all the talking and you do not play their sport.

What you have done is simple chosen a common human activity as a basis of similarity and tossed it out there as a possible common value. Sport is a common denominator even if you like different activities.

As such, it is a potent area of common values.

2. Being accepted as a member of the team
Doing a simple thing like reading the headlines on the sports pages every morning and commenting about the home team’s win or loss the previous evening makes you a part of the camaraderie surrounding sports.

Men have been raised to believe that sport is important and to have favorite teams. When you enter into a conversation about something they value, you create an area of perceived common interest. You are more likely to be readily accepted as a teammate an area of perceived common interest.

You are more likely to be readily accepted as a teammate and someone that understand working with men. You are more likely to be considered “one of the boys”.

3. Using sport to get quality time with your boss or customers
Having four hours of time with no phone calls or other people walking into your relationship whit an important business associate can provide a critical advantage–even if you don’t talk business.

At the end of a round of golf, chances are that your social conversation alone has been extensive enough for all players to know common interests and values.

In fact, it may be more important for you to engage in this non-business conversation and to find this common ground that is the basis for a successful long-term relationship than to get into a business conversation right away.

Many people who play golf for business don’t “do business” until they are finished playing the game and stop for a drink following the round.

How you can get started in golf:

  • Treat yourself to lessons with a professional golf instructor
  • Understand the rules and etiquette of golf.
  • Have friends take you out to play until you feel comfortable enough to entertain on your own.
  • If you have trouble making time for yourself, force yourself to play by joining an executive women’s golf league
  • Subscribe to a golf magazine.

Resources

Magazines

“Travel & Leisure Golf “– magazine for golfers who travel and play. Each issue reviews new gear, scopes out challenging courses, and includes contributions from top players.
http://www.travelandleisure.com/vacation-ideas/golf

800-947-7961

Organizations

LPGA- Women’s Professional Golf ¬†Association

www.lpga.com- search for a teacher in your area on this web-site
904-274-6200

National Golf Foundation– Provides market research on the U.S. Golf Industry and serves as an information clearinghouse
www.ngf.org
561-744-6107

International Network of Golf – A media based networking association with 750+ clearinghouse.
Ingdaddy1@aol.com
407-328-0599


This material is updated and condensed from: Why Women Should Learn How To Use Golf (Sport) For Business, By Donna L. Lopiano, Ph.D., Executive Director, Women`s Sports Foundation.

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