I know that many lawyers are turned off, if not terrified by the concept of networking. The idea of walking into a room full of strangers and striking up a conversation is truly worse than a root canal. I can’t say that I’m overly comfortable with networking myself.
However, I found an article entitled “Bad Networking Ain’t Networking” by John Snyder on Attorney at Work to be quite helpful. When Synder left BigLaw for a solo practice, he was told “you’ve got to network.” His response to that in the article raises two excellent points:
- Don’t go to networking events to get business. Rather look at it as opportunities to make new friends; and
- Think of ways to help those you meet.
He sums it up beautifully: “So here is how I would amend that ‘you gotta network’ edict. It’s not about networking – it’s about being a friendly, generous and helpful person…(and those are) the qualities that clients or potential referral sources seek in a lawyer.”
So, attend networking events with the idea of making friends, not networking. The results may surprise you.