Here is another useful article which provides a different way to think about networking. LegalJob agrees with the author about the importance of not tying networking to a specific work goal.
Instead, as LegalJob has previously posted, networking is just another opportunity to be of service to people. If your goal is merely to be helpful to people as suggested in the article, a likely by-product is that you will attract clients because of all the strong value you provide. It is a win-win once your goal is to help people regardless of whether they become clients.
Below are LegalJob’s three steps for helping people at these events.
1.) Ask open-ended questions to determine if you can be helpful in some way.
- What keeps you up at night?
- Why did you come to this event?
- What would make this event a success for you?
2.) Listen to the responses.
- Stop talking. Let folks have the floor for as long as they wish.
- Resist the urge to annotate answers to demonstrate understanding or your brilliance.
- Get comfortable with short and long periods of silence and pauses.
3.) Look for ways to be helpful by providing preliminary solutions (after taking enough time on step 2 which will be based on facts and circumstances).
- Perhaps directly because it is legal-related and in your area of expertise. Often the issues people talk about as forefront in their mind may not be in this category but you still may be able to be helpful. Too many lawyers do not realize they can be valuable resources in many areas outside the law.
- Indirectly because it is legal-related and in an area for which your firm or a friend has expertise.
- Indirectly because it has nothing to do with the law but chances are you, one of your firm colleagues, one of your clients, or someone else you know has information that can help the person. Dig deep and try to be resourceful. You may have to come back to the person later once you have thought of a helpful contact.
Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.