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I attended a baseball game recently with a client and was amazed to see the fans in action both with and without good manners. A sporting event is a fun way to build relationships and gain customer loyalty. From baseball and hockey games to golf and tennis tournaments, Southwest Florida offers a variety of indoor and outdoor venues to catch a game and entertain clients at the same time. But just because it’s not in an office environment it doesn’t mean you may leave your manners at home.

A few guidelines:

If you’re the host, it’s important to set the stage and expectations before you head to the field/court/course. Will parking be included? Will you be entertaining in a VIP box? Will you be paying for all food and beverages, or should your guests plan to take extra cash? If you let them know ahead of time, it will prevent any awkwardness at the game.

If you’re attending as a guest of your company, it’s wise to remember that you’re representing your organization. Have fun, but not at the expense of your reputation or your company’s.

Anyone attending the event (host or guest) should follow these guidelines for good sportsmanship and manners.

  • Cheer for your team, but don’t be obnoxious and don’t boo the opposing team. 

  • Do not use profanity. This is one way to quickly offend your guests or host and could easily turn a client against you. 

  • Do not try to get to your seat during the middle of the game. Wait until the end of the inning, or the point, etc. 

Spending leisure time together at a sporting event can boost morale and customer loyalty. Manners are an essential part of the game if you want it to be a winning situation. 

Suzanne Willis is the founder of Willis Consulting & Communications in Naples, which specializes in contemporary business, social and children’s etiquette.

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