There have been many jokes and memes about how we have all forgotten the most basic of social skills after being locked down for two years.

But in all seriousness, it sometimes feels like when you don’t flex a certain “muscle,” you forget how to use it. In some ways, the last two years have really dragged on, but in others, they’ve flown by. So it can come as a surprise when you’re getting excited to return to that first in-person event only to realize that you may feel a little rusty.
Continue Reading Help! I’ve Forgotten How to Network!

“This person doesn’t benefit me.” 

“I’m not getting any business.” 

Have you ever said, or thought, either of these things about a networking event or while involved in a business organization? It’s not the first time I’ve heard them, which is why they merit a mention here.

When you say these things out loud or to yourself, it’s likely that your first reaction is that you’re in the wrong place, or the organization is faulty. But consider for just a moment that maybe the networking barrier in these scenarios is actually you. 
Continue Reading Overcoming one of the Biggest Barriers in Networking

suit-business-man-business-man-37547“Don’t talk to people you know.”

“Follow up immediately.”

“Meet as many new people as possible.”

“Jump into social media.”

Is any of this sounding familiar to you?

As you head off to yet another networking event or conference, is someone admonishing you not to spend time with the people you know, but to get “five new business cards” by the end of the evening? Are you dreading yet another long session of small talk about the weather, or worse, politics, with a crowd of people you’ve never met?

Never fear, I’m here to tell you that everything you know about networking may be wrong.

Yep, I said it. It’s wrong. 

How can that be? Two important reasons. 
Continue Reading Lawyers: Everything You Know About Networking is Wrong

photo-1457213453084-d386450c6252Next week, I’m heading to Tokyo for our Asia Pacific Regional Conference, and the following week, I’ll be off to Austin for the Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Meeting (and yes, I’m running my half-marathon in between those two, in a city that is not my home). Because of this, I’ve got conference networking on the brain. Much of what I want to say about conference networking I’ve already said here at Zen, so instead of rehashing it, I want to round-up some of my favorite posts and advice for networking at conferences right here for you. I’m also throwing in a couple of posts related to general networking, and adding in how you can apply the advice to conferences:

Networking Hacks from Undergrads

The two tips in here are to embrace Facebook (really, social media in general) and that business cards are back. In terms of social media, you want to be using this before, during and after a conference – before the conference, use the tips suggested in the post to find and connect to the speakers and attendees at the event that you’d like to meet, and set up networking opportunities. While things can happen organically, wouldn’t you rather make sure that you didn’t leave them up to fate? During the conference, do the same. When you  meet someone, or see a speaker that you like, add them to your LinkedIn connections with a personalized note reminding them of your connection or complimenting them about something that they said. After the conference, add anyone that you missed and arrange to follow up with them where appropriate. Ensure that you have plenty of business cards with you, that they’re up to date with your current information, and are memorable – people were clamoring for my unique cards at the recent awards ceremony I went to in London, even though they were already members of a competing network.
Continue Reading The Value of Conference Networking

111HWe’ve talked a lot about networking here at Zen, and covered a lot of the traditional ideas:

  • Use social media to prime your contacts before an event.
  • Don’t skip anything.
  • Don’t hang around with only the people you know.
  • Use the event organizers to help introduce you to people.

And more.

But these are fairly straightforward, right?

What if we turned networking on its head and gave you a few totally unconventional ways to network? These aren’t things you’d necessarily have  to advertise to anyone that you were doing, but they would challenge you out of a networking rut if you’re used to attending a certain organization’s events and talking to the same people, or networking in the same way. 
Continue Reading The Unconventional Guide to Networking

One week from today, I leave for our Annual Meeting in Sicily, which has got one major thing on my mind (aside from last minute details) and that is NETWORKING.

This is our largest conference of the year, so it presents a LOT of opportunities for our delegates to take advantage of the networking opportunities that are available to them just by showing up. But as with any marketing or business development activity, you only get out of it what you put into it. 

Yes, it would be nice if you could walk away from an event with little or no effort and have business thrown right into your lap, but it just doesn’t work that way (once in a blue moon, the stars will align and it will happen, but that’s luck, not networking).  

So today, I wanted to focus on some dos and don’ts of conference networking, in the hopes that whether you’re a consummate networking professional or a first timer, you’ll get something out of this list! 

I’m going to put these in bullet formatting for a quick list you can zip through, so let’s go! 

Continue Reading Dos and Don’ts of Conference Networking