Stay up to Par by Networking: Lessons from the Late, Great, Arnold Palmer

The sport of golf has been gaining popularity over the past few years thanks in part to emerging talent like Jordan Spieth and Rory Mcllroy. While I myself am not a golfer and not overly familiar with these two particular players, I am familiar with one of the greatest to ever play the game, Arnold Palmer. Besides having one incredibly delicious drink named after him, Arnold was a golf legend and, more importantly, a role model of basic human interaction and common courtesy.

In the article, “‘Never Walk Past Anyone’: Business Lessons From Arnold Palmer” author Marty Conway shares the story of advice Palmer once shared with fellow golfer Phil Mickelson. Mickelson explained that the best advice he ever received from Palmer was to, “Never walk by anyone. No one likes to feel like they are invisible, and don’t matter”, advice that Conway says he has personally incorporated into his professional life. He makes it a point to dedicate a few minutes each day to acknowledge those who have reached out to him (most times by phone or e-mail) and show appreciation for the their time and efforts, even if it’s just to say ‘no thank you’ to a solicitor.

My challenge to the UConn community, push yourselves to take this advice one step further; think of it not only as an opportunity to be courteous but to also expand your network. Whether you’re a freshman or senior, grad student or alumnus, we can all benefit from the power of networking and the easiest way to create that connection is to “never walk past anyone”. The next time you see an organization tabling in the Student Union, or see students running a fundraiser on Fairfield Way, take a minute to stop and engage them in conversation. Find out who they are. Read the literature they are distributing. Ask questions. In doing so, you not only open the door to learning something new and potentially expanding your network, but you also score a hole-in-one by making someone feel “visible” for the day!

For additional tips and tricks on how to open a dialogue with someone new, visit the Center for Career Development to schedule an appointment or view our on-line resources. Let us help you keep your networking skills up to par!

By Kristen Soprano
Kristen Soprano Career Consultant Kristen Soprano