For decades, some of the most important businesses deals in the world have been cut on the golf course. With the advent of social media, video conferencing, and other means of communication, some people have declared the golf course to be an outdated tool with less influence every day.
Is that true? Are today’s big ideas forming online instead of at the tee? Are the powerful connections being made over a data network instead of over a scorecard?
The answer is no. Golf courses are still at the top of the list when it comes to making deals. Here are four reasons that it will stay that way.
Golf Courses Promote Face-to-Face
We’ve all received an email or text and been unable to figure out its tone. Was the sender being sarcastic or serious? Was it about a problem or an opportunity? Online communication can never convey tone or emotion the way that face-to-face conversation can.
When you’re providing a colleague with feedback about an idea while you’re waiting for someone else to putt, you’re using the purest form of communication there is. It’s not just the words you say, it’s how you say them and how you express yourself physically, and you can only capture all of that in person.
Golfing Build Networks
Some observers believe that the only people who interact on a golf excursion have come together to play as a group. They contend that the conversations are strictly internal and don’t allow anyone to branch out to new people or companies.
To an extent, we do try to have a full team before getting a tee time, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes one player cancels, and other times we know we’ll be short. When we fill those empty seats with people we find at the club, we end up talking about their business, our business, and how they might interact.
The Course is Conducive to Clear Thought
The boardroom can sometimes be called the “bored” room. It’s the same old surroundings with the same old ideas and familiar thought processes. Productivity is often compromised by the lack of a new backdrop.
Take your conversation to the links and see what happens. Instead of your office, take your planning team to somewhere like River Hall Country Club near Fort Myers. See what the fresh air, manicured grass, and gentle breeze can do to get the thought process going. There’s no doubt you’ll see greater creativity and productivity.
Golfing Reveals the True Personality
Anybody can get ready for a big meeting. An extra espresso, a few nervous laps around the parking garage, or even a shot of courage can help get somebody psyched up for a meeting. After it adjourns, they can go outside and revert to their problematic behavior.
People can’t hide their emotions on the golf course. They’ve got a perfect day, a great set of clubs, and a good lie. If they can’t cash in with a good shot to the green, they won’t be able to hide their true reactions. Golf is a great tool for psychoanalysis. The time and concentration it takes make it impossible to put on a fake personality. People who are gracious in victory and defeat on the golf course are the kind of people who will be good partners in business.
Like anything, golf has changed. We’re all guilty of checking email in the cart on the way to the next tee or making a quick phone call as we await our turn, but technology will nevertake away the undeniable business power of the golf course.
Interesting related article: “Best golf holidays in Spain.”