“I’m a huge believer that business decisions are now being settled in the gym, as opposed to ‘on the golf course,’” says Meghan Chisholm, a PR professional with DKC Public Relations. Chisholm has been able to unite her passions for fitness and her career by skipping the sushi and gin and taking clients out for spin and yoga instead.
Here is how sweatworking can help you shape your career.
Break the Ice
Are you meeting a client face-to-face for the first time? Or have you been set up on a networking “blind date?” If you get nervous about grabbing coffee–or worse–giving a presentation to someone new, consider breaking the ice with a workout first.
“People are much more candid with you if you’ve just spent an hour dying together in a barre class rather than sitting across a conference table in a boardroom,” says Kristen Wasko, an assistant account executive at Access Communications.
While having a few drinks with a potential new client or colleague can help get the conversation flowing, how much of that conversation will be relevant the next day?
“Instead of a few cocktails at $15 a pop, we can enjoy a healthy workout together at nearly the same price and actually remember what we talked about post-workout,” says Chisholm.
Use Exercise As a Way to Show Your Skills
“When you workout or follow a fitness regime, you are more disciplined and balanced in life and at work,” says Elisette Carlson, founder of SMACK! Media. “Motivated, competitive people tend to want to associate with other motivated, competitive people or at least people who are a positive influence.”
Create a Unique Shared Experience
But what if you aren’t sure your client is a bootcamp kind of lady?
“Everyone’s time is so limited and people are constantly receiving invitations for drinks or dinner,” says Wasko. “Clients usually appreciate an invitation to do something different.”
Chisholm agrees and says her invitations to meet at fitness classes have been received positively by both clients and coworkers. She says even if the person hasn’t participated in a specific type of class, she is usually excited to try something new.
There are elements of adventure and camaraderie when you and your client both show up for a workout without makeup, heels or your power bags. By trying something different–and potentially humbling–together, you are bringing down walls.
“Once you’ve shared a cool, unique experience outside of the workplace, it becomes easier to discuss not-so-cool and not-so-fun work conversations that are destined to rise in course of business,” says Chisholm.
Increase Your Productivity
It happens after nearly every networking lunch—the 2 p.m. slump. Instead of sitting at your desk drowsy, full and unproductive, take a midday class with someone in your network to get the juices flowing for the rest of your day.
“Post-workout brainstorming sessions are the most productive, because endorphins are rushing and minds are clear,” says Carlson. “This inspires creativity and productivity. Feeling your body move certainly inspires much more creativity than staring at a computer screen all day. Breaks are key.”
Leave Room for Traditional Networking, Too
While barre class may never completely replace the wine bar, they do provide a nice balance. After working hard, the experience of the post-run coffee or post-workout beer tastes that much sweeter.
Besides, with all the deals you’ll be landing, who has the time to play a round of golf?
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