As we get closer to the holiday season (yeah, they’ll be here sooner than you think), it means there will be more and more networking opportunities. A lot of lawyers, including yours truly, are not always comfortable in every setting. However, these events can be very important to developing business for one’s practice, and should not be avoided due to some discomfort.
I had initially overlooked a post by Mary Ellen Sullivan on Attorney at Work last month I think is pretty good and worth sharing. It provides 10 suggested icebreakers by Debra Fine., the author of The Fine Art of Small Talk. They are:
- “What is your connection to this event?
- What keeps you busy outside of work?
- Tell me about the organizations you are involved with.
- How did you come up with this idea?
- What got you interested in … ?
- What do you attribute your success to?
- Describe some of the challenges of your profession.
- Describe your most important work experience.
- Bring me up to date.
- Tell me about your family.”
Fine and Sullivan also suggest a number questions which might be considered too personal or problematic, which should be avoided. No. 10 above might fall into that category depending on the situation, but obviously it is a judgment call.
Notice that the questions are open-ended. This should keep the other person talking, and that can help overcome any shyness.