Make Them (Our Mistakes) Playable (Issue 825)

In which we are reminded that good call “mechanics” will save us when we make mistakes.

“The key is, make them playable.”

10:00 am Saturday morning. I was listening to a golf pro working with a friend who is learning the game.

“Even good golfers hit only about five really solid shots a round,” he continued. “You’re going to make mistakes. Just make them playable.”

And the key to “making them playable”?

“Forget about the ball. In fact, I don’t want you looking at the ball. I want you to look at a spot two inches in front of the ball and focus on your mechanics. Prepare – bring your club back, and pause. Make sure you’re lined up. Just like your practice swings Then, stick with the mechanics: Hips rotate, then shoulders, and then your arms. If you try to swing at the ball and fool around with your hands and arms, you’ll be all over the place.” No kidding, that’s what he said. I got it pretty much word for word.

I thought about this a few days later as I was watching the Skating Club of Boston’s 2017 “Ice Chips” show. From the beginning skaters to the Olympic-level skaters who performed, including Javier Fernandez (two-time World champion, a five-time European champion, a three-time Grand Prix Final medalist, and a seven-time Spanish national champion), they all made mistakes. The less experienced skaters who tried to “fool around” with their hands and arms ended up on the ice. The better skaters with better mechanics just made their mistakes “more playable” and recovered more smoothly. Again, mechanics.

I kept thinking about the golf pro’s admonition: “If you try to fool around…, you’ll be all over the place.”

We all make mistakes in sales calls. Even great sales people make mistakes in sales calls. And I would give the golf pro’s counsel. “Forget about the ball (sale)… Prepare (do your research on the industry, company, people, etc.)…and pause . Make sure you’re lined up. Just like your practice swings (rehearse the call). Then: stick with the mechanics (lead the call, guided by your plan). If you try to swing at the ball (pounce immediately toward a potential sale) and fool around (stray off your plan), you’ll be all over the place.”

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