Friday, April 15, 2011

Want to Schmooze? Put Down your I-Pad and Pick Up a Golf Club.

As I like to remind my readers, Ben Franklin once said that the Constitution only guarantees you the right to the pursuit of happiness, you have to catch it yourself. In other words, don't wait for opportunities to happen, make them happen. Whatever type of law you practice, networking should be a part of your business development plan. The kind of networking that actually makes you leave your computer screen in order to speak to a real honest to goodness living person.  So put down your i-Pad and pick up a golf club.

The last time I played golf, I was in my senior year of college. A few of my fellow graduates and I trekked down to Virginia Beach to play 18 holes of world class golf.  It would be the last time I played for years. With a busy law practice playing golf fell by the wayside.  I wasn't a retiree.  Who had time for golf?  I had too much work. Motions to prepare and cases to settle. Somewhere along the way, I forgot how enjoyable the game could be. With its many rules and penalties, golf is the perfect game for lawyers.  Not only is it a great stress reliever, it's also a great way to schmooze. This weekend, I reconnected with the game.  I couldn't be happier. I don't know why I took so long to get back into the swing of things.

Schmoozing on the golf course is nothing new.  There is a reason why so many executives are willing to dole out hundreds of thousands of dollars on exclusive golf club memberships.  It's the perfect way to network.  While networking on social internet sites has its advantages, it is no match for face to face old school schmoozing. Bar Association events are great, but you can only get so far with your name tag at a limited meet and greet event.  What's better? Connecting with someone on a social network service like Linked In or having the opportunity to spend several relaxed hours with that person walking the links?

Of course, not everyone has the funds to buy an exclusive country club membership.  Don't worry about it. You can do just as well at a public course.  This weekend, I was invited to hit the links with a client at the Stanley Golf Course in New Britain, Connecticut.  Named after one of the founders of Stanley Tool Works, the beautiful course has 27 holes, an elegant tavern, a heated enclosed driving range, and even GPS enabled golf carts.  You can order a roast beef sandwich or see how many yards you have to the green right from the cart's touch screen monitors.  It even warns you that you're speeding.  Apparently the speed limit is 14 mph.  The round of golf cost me less than $30.  During my game, I more than made up for the nominal fee. I schmoozed with ESPN executives, local judges, alderman, fellow lawyers and local business owners.  Although I did not go in search of clients, I walked away with several.  It was great to break the ice with judges in a relaxed setting.  I even met a newspaper publisher who asked me to consider writing a legal column for his paper.

Schmoozing aside, walking the greens allowed me a little time for myself.  The needed exercise gave me a boost in energy. Whacking the ball became enjoyable as I imagined the heads of certain troublesome clients and opposing attorneys.  If you never tried the game, I encourage you to give it a whirl.  You might find more benefit in the game than you imagined. 

1 comment:

Hyp3r said...

Less than $30? I'm going to have to give that course a try!