Working out has risen to new heights as a social business activity. With spin classes taking over stuffy business lunches and yoga replacing cocktail hours, sweat is the ultimate social lubricant!

While getting sweaty might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about making new business connections, it just might be the key to that elusive “authentic” networking experience that we’re all looking for.

“Sweatworking”, a mixture of “working out” and “networking”, isn’t just the newest buzzword of corporate gym rats – it’s a legitimate way to connect with like-minded people and bond over a shared interest.

Next time you start planning a business lunch, consider taking a more active approach to meet fellow business athletes, and suggest hitting the gym for a sweatworking session. Still not convinced? Here are three good reasons why you should give it a try:

1. It’s a great way to add value in a professional relationship.

We always hear about the importance of adding value in professional relationships. What better way to do that than helping someone else to stay accountable for their fitness goals, giving them exposure to a new type of workout or a new gym, and making a grueling activity a little more social and fun. Not to mention, it helps you stand out in a world of coffee chats and cocktails as someone who is forward thinking when it comes to business and health!

people working out in gym class room, pilates, yoga, fitness, networking, sweatworking
Getting your team to exercise together can help break down traditional barriers and do wonders for uncovering hidden attributes of team members.

2. It builds a legitimate working rapport.

When trying to get ahead in your career, networking is not a substitute for hard work – the two are complementary. One of the most important ways to cultivate and grow your networking relationships is to actually show people what you can do.

Your colleagues and contacts probably have a good sense of your professional skills and accomplishments, or could get that information from your resume or LinkedIn profile. Meanwhile, working out or playing sports together are great ways to show off your soft skills like teamwork, positive attitude and openness to new experiences. It is also an excellent platform to showcase the benefits of your athlete’s mindset, such as being dependable, hardworking, and goal-oriented.

3. It creates authentic experiences and helps overcome barriers.

In a workout setting you’re sweating, struggling and working towards a goal together, so it doesn’t matter what industry you come from or how junior or senior you are.

Group fitness and team sports lend themselves especially well to creating a great networking experience without the pecking order found at more typical networking events. Whether you are cheering together between tracks in spin class or spotting each other at CrossFit, camaraderie is sure to form.

Have you tried out sweatworking already? Feel free to share your experiences with this networking approach in the comments below.

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