Lawyers who are not comfortable “schmoozing” hate networking. The thought of walking into a room full of strangers is worse to them than having a root canal. Death itself would be preferable to some, I know.
But networking is not just about socializing with people you don’t know. In fact, networking can be enjoyable if one looks at it in a different light. Paramjit Mahli of Sun Communications Group referred me to her article on networking misconceptions, which appeared in the New Jersey Law Journal this month. Here is part of her take on what networking isn’t:
- Transactional (rather it is relational, as in relationship building),
- Hit-and-miss (not if it is strategically focused), and
- Short term in developing (it takes time and effort).
So, you may ask, accepting the above, where is this “different” way of looking at networking I mentioned?
Start with clients and those contacts you feel comfortable networking with.
- Review your “rolodex” for names of people you haven’t contacted in awhile,
- Take them to lunch and ask what you can do for them,
- Listen more than 50% of the time,and pick up on names of people they could introduce you to,
- Join their organizations and become active (especially if its members are desirable sources of new business),
- Attend events and conferences with them.
You may find that networking is better than a trip to the dentist after all.