You don’t have to build a referral base through a Bar Association only. Look around your everyday life and make networking fit in.

This week we asked: Where have your best referrals come from?

1) Professional Organizations (Bar Associations, ect…) – 19%

2) Personal Causes – 26%

3) Community Organizations/ Schools – 13%

4) Neither – 42%

My Thoughts:

Interestingly enough over half of you said that your best referrals came from personal causes or organizations and schools.

At a recent seminar I conducted the conversation turned to this exact topic and almost all of the attorneys in attendance were in agreement that some of the best networking they are able to do is in their own personal life. While the Bar Association is a fantastic place to build referrals, it needs to be supplemented with some other organizations. A few ideas…

1. Schools—Whether its your child’s school or your own alumni association, it’s a great (and relaxed) place to connect with others and share business. Just be aware of the environment and focus more on developing friendly relationships than pushing for referrals.

2. Charitable Causes—Having a cause that means something to you beyond being simply a networking fulfillment will make all the difference in both your comfort level and attitude. Look around the organizations you belong to that mean the most to you and make sure that the people you interact with on a regular basis know what you do and why you’re good at it.

3. Hobbies—Take inventory of your out-of-office activities. Play for a basketball or softball team? Belong to a runner’s club? Poker? Bridge? Tennis? All great places to network. Don’t discount opportunities just because they show up outside your professional bubble.

The key here (in case you hadn’t noticed) is developing personal relationships. We all know that. The problem is remembering it. You don’t have to make a play for new business or referrals, but keeping that IN MIND as your relationships develop can help you see opportunity where you may not have before.

Black Pearl: Need a refresher on networking and building relationships? I highly recommend Mark Maraia’s “Relationships Are Everything! Growing Your Business One Relationship at a Time.”