Jaimie Field is bringing us a great post for networking week today, focused on the an idea that I fully embrace, that networking happens all the time, everywhere.

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Monday, February 4th was my birthday.  (Yes, this is a shameless plug for you to send me belated birthday wishes.) After a long day at the office, I went to see my favorite musician play at a wonderful location in New York City.

The interesting thing about his location is that it is sort of like dinner theater – there are tables and bar tops set up around the venue.  If you do not purchase all of the seats at the table, you will be sitting with people you may not know.  Nothing wrong with this, particularly if you know that you should network with the people at your table.

Which I did.

Turns out I was sitting with an attorney who works with one of the top law firms in the country and her fine-artist husband.  Now, because my ideal client is attorneys, this could prove to be a great meeting. I may get a new client or I may get some referrals to her colleagues.  We exchanged business cards, and I plan on trying to create a relationship with this person.   And, because we have something in common – the love of this musician – we have a great start to try to build that relationship upon.

The point is, you never know who you are going to meet and where you are going to meet them.

I often tell the story of one of my clients, an attorney who was going through a brand new divorce, who went to a fast food restaurant with his little kids on “his weekend”.  While standing in line, his kids were running around like little maniacs.  Thankfully, as he put it, so were the kids of the guy behind him.  Before he worked with me, he would have been mortified that his kids were acting that way.  Instead, he turned to the guy behind him and asked: “Your weekend?”  To which the gentlemen sighed: “Yup – and this is a new thing.”

Turns out the guy behind him was also just going through a divorce and wasn’t sure how to handle it.

This lead to my client and the guy behind him, and their kids, sitting together for lunch; and after lunch, while the kids went into the fast food restaurant’s indoor playground, the two men chatted about what they had in common  – their new divorce.  Well, the guy was the CEO of a company that my client really would have liked to have for a client.  So, they also talked business and how my client could help the CEO.

Within a week, my client was the new outside counsel for this company and he and the CEO have become great friends.  Further, the CEO has referred numerous new clients to my client.

The point is, you never know who you are going to meet and where you are going to meet them.

You never know which one person can change the trajectory of your career – so talk to everyone.

And you never know who and how you can help others unless you meet them, even in line, or sitting next to them at a theater.

So you must network all of the time, everywhere and everywhere.