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Playing Sports as Part of a Business Outing

Playing sports with business clients or business associates comes with business-specific sport-playing etiquette rules. Keep these business-outing sports tips in mind while you enjoy yourself:

  • Golf: The game is immensely frustrating on occasion, so it’s a remarkably accurate test of a person’s stress-management abilities.

    If alcohol is allowed on the course, go easy! Drinking too much while playing golf with clients or associates is as dangerous as it is at any other business function. Don’t outplay the client, even if he’s a 15 handicap and you’re a 4. And avoid talking business until the group members are settled into the game and are comfortable with one another.

  • Tennis, racquetball, and squash: A dress code usually is involved. Make sure that you know ahead of time what the dress code is for the club you're going to attend. Also, say nothing if your opponent makes a lousy call. Never, ever scream obscenities or throw your racquet (John McEnroe notwithstanding).

  • Sailing and motorboating: This is a great opportunity for the client to show off his or her latest toys and skills.

    If you're a boating novice, no amount of confident bluster will cover for your ignorance. Faking it simply isn’t in your strategic interest; admit your landlubber status and ask for directions. Most captains will be more than willing to tell you what to do.

  • Skiing and snowboarding: The rules of skiing and snowboarding are, like many other etiquette guidelines, based on safety — yours and that of others. You have to be outfitted properly to enjoy skiing. Don't even try to talk business while you're skimming down the slope.

Hosting social sporting events can be beneficial for your business. If done properly, these occasions can make a positive and lasting impression. Remember, the goal is to build client and customer relationships, trust, and a rapport. To accomplish this, it isn’t always necessary to discuss business.

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