Yesterday I played in the Midwest SCC annual golf outing. It was great fun and I was pleased to have the opportunity to golf with some nice & interesting cosmetic chemists. While golf outings don’t seem like they have much to do with cosmetic chemistry, they are quite common in our industry and there are a number of reasons you should participate (even if you don’t like golf). Here are just a few.
Benefits of participating in a cosmetic industry golf outing
1. Catching up with old friends – When you’re in the lab you only get to talk to people in your immediate group and company. But with the way people move around there are plenty of people at different companies that you’ll never hear from. A golf outing is a great way to reconnect.
2. Building your network – Golf outings provide an excellent opportunity to meet new people. Typically, there will be over 70 people and a good number of them will be people you don’t know. Make it a point to introduce yourself to all of them.
3. Getting to know someone on a deeper level – When you are golfing, you get about 4+ hours of sitting next to someone in a golf cart. Ideally, this will be someone who you don’t know very well. Ask questions about their life and the things that are important to them. You can also ask about their company and see if there are things that you might try to get implemented in your own.
4. Find new business opportunities – If you are an entrepreneure or sales person a golf outing is a great opportunity to find out the main problems the people you are there with are having. You can then try to come up with solutions for them.
5. Get formulation problems solved – Use some of the time you spend with your golfing group to ask questions and see if they can help you with any problems you’re facing at the moment. You may have to be oblique about your meaning as not to reveal secret company projects but if you are having some specific formulation issue this could be a great time to get ideas on how to fix it.
6. Learn about new career opportunities – Golf outings bring a number of people from different companies together in one place. This is a great chance for you to learn about potential job leads if you are looking. If you are unemployed or just looking for a change, a golf outing is a great opportunity to kickstart your career.
7. Industry gossip – You’ll get plenty of industry gossip at a golf outing. While it may seem superfoulous industry gossip can be an important way to connect deeper with other scientists and learn things that can be important to your current or future career.
8. Free food and Prizes – Of course there is the free food and prizes. Who doesn’t like that?
What to do at a golf outing
As you can see there are a number of benefits to participating in a golf outing. Here are some tips on some of the things you should do when you are at the event.
1. Greet everyone you know – There will be a number of people you know at the event and probably many you haven’t seen in a while. Be sure to say hello to everyone you know even if it is for a short moment. It makes people feel important and can increase your visibility in the industry. Also, it’s just the nice thing to do.
2. Meet new people – Introduce yourself to anyone new that you see. It’s helpful to have business cards to hand out. Also, use some memory techniques to remember their name and something about them. This is the most difficult aspect of meeting new people but the most valuable. I have found this book extremely useful.
3. Use the time wisely – While playing golf is the activity that brings you there, it is not really the main reason that you are participating. More importantly it is to meet people, network, find new opportunities and get your problems solved. Think of problems you need solved before the event. Talk to people who might be able to help you. Make the time spent golfing productive. There is a lot of down time between shots.
4. Keep a positive attitude no matter how bad you play – Unless you are a really good golfer you are going to make a number of terrible shots. Don’t worry about it. Remember the game is secondary to the reason you are there. Remember you are not a pro golfer and the score does not matter that much.
5. Learn about the people you with whom you are playing – Spend time talking to the people you are playing with. Ask them about themselves and try not to talk about yourself too much. The more they talk and the less you talk the better. Listen first, speak later.
6. Offer to help organize the event – Finally, it takes a lot of work to make one of these golf outings happen and they are always looking for people to organize. If you want all the benefits of the outing but don’t want to actually play, being on the organizing committee is an excellent way to make that happen. Also, you’ll be seen as a leader and have the chance to meet everyone who is participating. It’s a great opportunity for someone early on in their career.
Participating in golf outings and other cosmetic industry events are a critical way to ensure that your career continues to grow. Even if you don’t like the particular event or are not good at it there are still plenty of benefits you can get. If you’re serious about your career, join in the fun.