We hear the same bit of advice over and over with regards to networking…Do it! Networking is a must in the legal industry and attorneys must perform it to land new jobs, grow their clientele, and expand their careers. Some of us are great at networking. The opposite is also true. Some of us are horrible at it. No matter what category you land in, there are some networking necessities that we all must practice.
1. Break from the Herd
Many lawyers tend to mingle with friends and co-workers at social gatherings. This is great and all, but it does very little to meet new people – which is a huge goal in networking. Break from the herd when at your next function. Leave the confines of your group and go meet someone new.
2. Lose the Title
Many lawyers introduce themselves with titles when networking. This usually takes the form of…."Hi, I'm a __________ attorney." The blank is often filled in with one's specific area of practice. This informs a bit, but it's also boring. Networking lawyers should try and provide a description of what they do or how they help clients/companies.
3. Re-Connect with Past Connections
We don't always have to network with new people. The facts are that people change and their work changes. While an old connection may not have helped a great deal in the past, that person may have taken on new opportunities or positions within the past few years. The result is that they may now be well situated to help you grow.
4. Ask the Right Questions
Julie Robinette is the author of How to Be a Power Connector. According to Julie, there are three questions all professionals must ask before ending a one-on-one networking event. These are:
- How can I help you?
- Do you have any ideas for me?
- Who else do you know that I should talk to?
Please don't ask all three in rapid-fire succession. Take your time with them and position them well within your meeting.
5. Don't go into Business Events Cold
Attorneys should not just walk into networking events without doing some research on the people that might be present. This usually results in the attorneys meeting random people that are of little use. Thus, try and get your hands on a guest list prior to attending an event. Research the invitees and see if they're people that you want to talk with.
6. Watch the Intake
Many networking events involve a bar, or at least cocktails or some form of alcohol. All attorneys should keep their drinking to a minimum when trying to expand their networks. People rarely want to help or offer advice, to people that are having problems forming coherent sentences. To keep it safe, opt for some club soda with a lemon wedge.
7. Don't Wait Until it's too Late
Lawyers can't wait to engage in networking until when they're looking for a new job or have zero work coming in. Networking must become a constant in every attorney's professional lives. New connections will open doors and bring new opportunities - many of which are positive.
Don't run from your upcoming networking event or take it lightly. View it as something that will help advance your career – and, make certain you use the tips above to perform at your absolute best. Questions? Never hesitate to contact us. We've been helping candidates for almost 30 years now. QUID PRO QUO knows a thing or two about networking. Simply just let us help.