The following contains an excerpt from Cassie Baudean Cunningham, Five Tips to Network Efficiently, Law Technology Today (Jun 8, 2016).
Learn to tell people what you do, rather than what you are.
If you want people to learn about you, build a relationship with you, and ultimately refer you, don’t use “lawyer” or “attorney” when you first introduce yourself. Begin your introduction by explaining what you do. For example, “I help individuals transition through divorce and custody cases,” or “I help businesses ensure they are compliant with the laws in their industry.” …You will eventually discuss the fact that you are a lawyer, but start with a description of the value you provide.
Be willing to help other people.
When you are networking, you should expect sometimes that you will help someone who is not particularly in a position to help you. …Take some time and build relationships and trust that ultimately, those relationships, rather than individual referrals, will help grow your law firm over time.
Schedule networking into your calendar.
If you make the effort to continue networking through the busy times, it will help reduce the slow times because you are consistently getting your name, face, and reputation out there to the community.
Know that networking doesn’t have to be done through a formal group.
Networking doesn’t mean you have to pay a fee and meet with the same group every week or once a month. Networking means building relationships and maintaining them. …The key is to continue building the relationships you have and forming new relationships with those in your community.
It’s hard to meet new people, particularly if you don’t have an introduction from someone else. …Remember that people like to talk about themselves so when you begin your conversation, ask questions about the other person, their job, their interests, etc. You may quickly find mutual ground that you can connect on or you may find that this person isn’t a great fit for you to build a relationship with. …Don’t be shy to introduce yourself to others at networking events (that is why they are there after all).
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