If you were around in the 80s, you may remember that no doctor would work on Wednesday afternoon. Instead, they would play golf. This was a universal guideline, practiced from Louisville to Anchorage. According to Bob Mims Memphis offered a true community for these people, many of whom had met at university. They would share news and swing clubs, set up a new foundation, talk about a new medical report, discussed who got fired, reviewed the new policies by their hospital’s CFO, and more. They would also gossip. Talking about rumor of an arrest because someone is said to steal and shoplift from the hospital, for instance. But mainly, it was an opportunity for them to come together and relax and network.

Bob Mims Memphis Golf Network

According to Bob Mims, playing golf is still cited as the best networking activity in various communities, not just the medical one. Interestingly, in August 2017, a report was created that showed engaging in any kind of sport was beneficial to personal and professional relationships. Indeed, today’s physicians, but also other professionals, go for a bike ride, a run, a Pilates or yoga class, go spinning, or play tennis.

Restaurants and bars are a thing of the past for networkers. People are far more productive and focused when there is no food or drink, and when it is all about being energetic. However, some continue to be resistant to this concept, and it can certainly be quite complex to send a prospective business partner an invitation to go to a spinning class, when the done thing still is either golf or a posh business lunch.

Bob Mims has developed a number of guidelines, however, to help people decide whether or not an invitation for something “out of the norm” is suitable or not. That includes:

  1. Find out whether they are physically active at all.
  2. Develop group activities between businesses to find out what types of activities you both like.
  3. Find groups that offer the activity you have chosen, such as a cycling group or running group.
  4. Do not go to any “killer” workouts that leave you both satisfied but completely exhausted at the end of it. The goal still is to network, not to collapse on a bench and decide the bar or the restaurant is the best place to go to now.
  5. Time your workouts right. Early morning is usually best, because lunches are often hurried and evenings are supposed to be for personal time. Of course, you should allow yourself to be guided in this by the person who you are going with.
  6. Choose the right location. Make sure your prospect is able to comfortably get home or back to the office and that, if necessary, they can have a quick shower.
  7. Networking is not a one time only thing. Hence, when you are out, monitor your client to see whether they are enjoying themselves. Let them win around 65% of the time if you’re playing something competitive as well.