When I did a search back on Zen to see what else we’ve discussed about networking, the results revealed that it’s…a lot. We’ve covered everything from networking for introverts, to conference networking, to social networking, to networking for people who hate networking, and more.
So why do we keep talking about it, over and over again?
Two reasons really:
- Networking is never really over.
- It bears repeating.
If it was a one and done thing, someone could write the definitive post or article on it, and we’d all follow that and be relationship building successes. But that’s not how it works – not with any relationship. Whether it’s a personal or a business relationship, it takes work, and constant tending. And because of that tending, it helps to have regular reminders and some new (or even rehashed) ideas of what you should be doing to keep yourself motivated and working at it.
So as long as the business of law is about people, building relationships and tending to those relationships will be a key part of it. And if you’ve been following along on our Instagram account this week, you’ll see from the photos I’ve shared of our lawyers networking, it doesn’t have to be uncomfortable or painful – networking can be full of joy, friendship, and engagement too.
As we wrap up this international networking week, let’s share some of our favorite tips for networking – some sourced right from my own network!
- “Listen and learn about people. After a conversation, take the time to jot down a few notes (favorite book, author, restaurant, movie, hobbies, sports team, place to vacation). Use this information as a reason to connect, “I just saw that J.K. Rowling has a new book coming out. You must be looking forward to reading it.” Connecting with people on a personal level shows that you are interested in them beyond the professional connection and helps to strengthen the relationship.” — Joanne Thorud, Davis Malm & D’Agostine
- “When you go to a networking event and hang around with people you already know you are performing a “Random Act of Networking” and just wasting your time. Meet new people. Obtain their business card. Create a new relationship which could lead to new business or referrals.” — Jaimie Field, The-Rain-Maker
- “You cannot wait until you have a need to try to build a network. If the only time you show up at business events or place calls to those you already know is when you have need, you will find it difficult to get the responses you desire. Building long-term and mutually beneficial relationships takes time, and even in our fast paced digital world, you cannot create a friendship through sending a LinkedIn request (or a bill).” — Thom Singer
There are as many ways to network as there are people – so identify what works best for you, and reach out to someone today – whether it’s by email, phone, social media, or in person. It’s all about connection and persistence in tending your business relationships.
Don’t forget to continue to share your favorite networking tips with us in the comments!