As many professionals know, networking is both crucial to business development and terrible on the waistline. While the business may welcome the bloat that comes with nightly drinks and dinner meetings, your body would probably prefer you take a pass every now and again. The good news is that you are not alone, the better news is that because networking while exercising may prove to be more effective than networking over drinks or a meal, you have one more reason to be motivated to exercise.
According to this New York Times article, For Real Sweat Equity, there are several reasons why exercising and doing business complement one another. To begin with, scheduling a work out may be easier than scheduling a dinner. Your regular fitness buff works out regularly and is going to appreciate the efficiency of exercising and networking. Secondly, if alcohol is a social lubricant, so is sweating. A professional can create a unique bond with a client over the mutual pain that can sometimes be working out. And, finally, if neither you nor your client have anywhere to put your cell phone, there are good chances your conversation will not be interrupted by emails, text messages and phone calls. This is more likely in a fitness setting than at a dinner.
If asking a client to work out seems awkward, start slow and build up. A low key walk or jog won’t prevent you from discussing business but it also won’t create any discomfort over fitness levels (or lack thereof). Similarly, spin bikes allow you to set your own difficulty and yoga classes usually have three levels for different fitness types. These options help you squeeze in your exercise while allowing you to decide how hard you want it to be.
For those that need exercise motivation, networking is as good as any and may prove to offer your potential clients and clients an experience that your competition has not.