Monday, September 04, 2006

A Hole in One

Networking can sometimes bring unexpected bonuses.

A few weeks ago I was at the London meeting of the Professional Speakers Association, when I met Tony Westwood. Tony is a golfing coach who has developed a very different approach to teaching his students. Whereas most golf pros will focus on a golfer's stance, grip and swing, Tony, an NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) practitioner, gets his wards to focus on the ball, where they want it to go and where they need to hit it to get that result.

Today I had a very good 'meeting' with Tony. Admittedly we chose to meet on a sun-drenched golf course in Worthing rather than a hotel room in London, but that's just a cross I had to bear! As Tony helped me knock at least 20 shots off of my average round (who knows, maybe I'll break 200 soon!), we talked around a number of interesting areas.

Tony is a member of a referral-focused networking group close to home. He mainly gets referrals for individual golf lessons and the occasional corporate golf day from the group. But that is not what he is really looking for. Tony wants to develop a number of presentations around his unique approach to golf coaching and also work closely with much smaller groups at corporate days. The problem is that he isn't asking for those referrals.

It turns out that Tony's approach to coaching golf doesn't really differ from the approach he should be taking with his referral group. Think of the group as the ball and the green as where you want that ball to go.

As Tony said, in golf, if you hit the ball on the right hand side it will travel to the left; if you hit the ball on the left hand side it will travel to the right; and if you hit it in the get the idea!

Where you 'hit' your networking group will determine what it can do for you. If you ask for one thing, that is what you'll get. If you ask for something else, then that is what you'll get.

So, when you are networking it is important that you picture where you want your group to take you. Aim for the green, not just a hundred yards down the fairway, and then work out how you will need to hit the ball to get there. Think about how your presentations and requests will help you to achieve your goals.

There is more to your networking group than lies on the surface. But it is down to you to get the results. And, just as in golf, if you mishit one shot, you just need to address the ball again and take another step closer to the green.

1 comment:

  1. I am very confused about all the potential networking opportunities there are around. Sharon, my partner and I are due to discuss them all very soon. Thing is, I do ecademy but not proactively. I am spending more time on the Academy website, I’ve started blogging.

    On the other hand, I’ve stopped local networking with the exception of PSA because I regard that as personal development. But really Andy all this activity has to depend on everyone’s own business bull’s eye.

    I know what my bull’ s eye is - I shared it with you recently. I’m just not quite sure how to get there. I am doing a Graham Jones blogging day, a Nigel Risner day, taking a stand at B2B Coventry in October, Inspire with ACE in October, PSA National in November. That’s about £5k’s worth.
    So we all have time (168 hours per week), energy, and money. The question is “how should we spend it?” The answer will always depend on the bull’s eye, but even then it is not clear what that answer should be!