The professional working world has found a new way of networking. This new phenomenon is all about keeping fit and still connecting with your customers all at the same time. It’s all about health-conscious professionals wanting a wholesome new way to bond with clients and colleagues without having to resort to booze and bites! The cocktail circuit now has a competitor. In a New York Times online piece entitled “For real sweat equity”, it is written “…schmoozing can take a physical toll. All those drinks, dinners and parties mean little time to hit the gym. So why not mix work with working out?” So make away for a new business buzz phrase – it’s called SWEATWORKING.

If you haven’t figured it out, it means “networking while sweating it out”! Business deals are not exclusive to being closed during expensive power lunches or up-market cocktails anymore. Many new-age professionals and business folks think this as passé. Today, it’s all happening at the gym. The idea here is that instead of entertaining your clients across a long night of wining and dining which will more than likely take a toll on your health over time, you take them to a trendy gym in an upscale precinct to work out together.

This trend, which started out in major U.S. cities such as New York & San Francisco, and which include a wide range of activities including cycling, kick-boxing, archery, spinning & yoga, has since made its way to the U.K., and has apparently become increasingly fashionable. “Earn while you burn” is the new corporate lingo which amplifies Sweatworking best, and the popularity of this business discipline has spurned a whole new breed of dealmakers whose preference is to perspire profusely while pouring over details of a contract! What has further added on to this is that even job interviews are now being conducted in the gym!

A favourite workout activity amongst New York’s Sweatworking set is in fact spinning [hard pedaling on stationary bikes]. With the lights and pulsating music that come as part and parcel of this group exercise regime, a whole slew of facilities have sprouted up to incorporate spin classes as a dominant feature in its offerings. Sweatworking has also been reported to bring out positive attributes in client service personnel. As one convert puts it, “When you are drenched in sweat and the task-master of a trainer yells out ‘c’mon you can do it, just ten more reps’, and you push yourself to complete them, it clearly demonstrates to your client that if you determined enough to get it done on the gym floor, then you are surely the partner he wants to have handling his business.” Keith Ferrazzi, author of “Never Eat Alone”, a how-to book on networking, argues that workouts are ideal for closing deals and winning accounts. He says, “In the sales process you want to accelerate personal relationships. Vulnerability yields intimacy. Intimacy yields trust.”

Even before I read about Sweatworking, I’ve been introducing my clients to regular Kettlebell workouts from as early as nine months back. The benefits of this which I eventually came to a conclusion on are twofold. The first has to do with getting fit together and the breaking down of the barriers inherent in a professional salesperson-customer relationship. The second is that instead of having to continually arrange to catch up with my client over a meal or drinks which can happen only every so seldom, I get to interact with him once or twice a week! In this day and age where hitting the cocktail circuit has become somewhat a mundane run-of-the-mill activity of sorts, Sweatworking could well be the new EQ tool to build that intimate and connective bond between business associates.

Welcome you to the world of “sweat equity”, my friends! Trust me, you’ll enjoy it!