LegalJob is pleased to introduce our guest blogger Katie White, Career Consultant and Networking Coach, The George Washington University Law School.
Question: I am basically a shy person, so networking does not come naturally to me. What do you advise?
Answer: A large percentage of lawyers are uncomfortable with networking, and might classify themselves as “introverts.” However, they have been able to learn to tackle networking and to make it work for them. Here are some ideas for coming out of your shell:
► Join an organization
As you have read in this blog, a great way to meet lawyers is to join a bar association. The good news is that the meetings these groups hold often have agendas, and are not merely open networking receptions. Find a way to talk to people at the meetings. If there is seating, talk to the person sitting next to you. Talk to people while you are waiting in line to get name tags. Talk to people standing next to you waiting for the program to begin, or in the food or drink line. The more meetings you attend, the more comfortable you will become, and the more people you will meet.
► Follow up with people you have met, and arrange for face to face meetings over coffee or lunch
Set a goal of reaching out to your friends and colleagues and friends of friends to build your network one person at a time. When you meet, be prepared to ask a lot of questions, solicit advice about your career, find out what is going on at their company or law firm, and see if they can refer you to at least one new person who might be a useful contact for you.
► Email is your friend!
As an introvert, you may prefer to email people instead of talking on the phone. This is a great way to make the initial contacts with the people you want to meet. But ultimately you are going to want to meet face to face, to get to know them.
► Manage your contacts: