The American Bar Association’s 2013 Annual Meeting is just a few weeks away — are you coming to San Francisco? You’ll find over 200 CLE programs, the world’s largest legal EXPO, and of course a chance to network with lawyers and judges.
What’s that you say? You’d rather stay home under the covers than go to another (dreaded) networking event? We have talked about networking before on our blogs, but now might be a very good time to dust off a few more ideas. So, here are five easy networking tips for lawyers that work, because yes, we’ve been there, done that.
1. Set a Goal
Before you go to a networking event, determine what it is you hope to achieve. Is there someone in particular you are hoping to meet? Or, are you just trying to meet your peers in a similar practice area? If you know your goal, then you can devise a way to achieve it.
2. Be Professional
Please, dress professionally and make sure you bring enough business cards. Yes, it's a social event and you can have a drink -- just don't get drunk. And put away that phone. No one wants to talk to someone staring at a screen.
That's why you're networking, right? It's easier to get in on, or start a conversation if you arrive early. If you're jumping in, avoid groups of two where it may seem more like interrupting rather than networking. Ask well-thought out questions that inspire discussion. Just don't be the last one standing.
We know, remembering names is so hard -- yet it is so vital to good networking. A simple trick is to use the person's name right away, as in "It's nice to meet you Jane" or "John, let me ask you ...". Also, when you're done speaking with someone, take some notes on their business card to help you remember them, such as something you talked about.
5. Follow up
There's no point in doing any of the above if you're not going to follow up and do something with the contacts you just made. It's always nice to send an email or note saying "It was nice to meet you" and following up with some info they wanted, or a question you had.
Networking can be really stressful, especially if you don't want to come across as if you're trying too hard or needy. Remember, you have something to offer as well, and you just might find someone to share it with at your next networking event.