Articles From the Team
How to become a good networker in the legal world
Networking in the legal world is always valuable - personally, professionally and commercially. In the digital age, face-to-face networking is as valuable as ever.
Essentially, networking and business development are all about building real relationships and actively maintaining them.
Effective networking and business development take practice. For some people, the skills required come naturally; for others, the thought of ‘working’ a room full of strangers is intimidating and fills you with dread; but the more you do it, the better you get.
To start building solid relationships, you need to be clear on how you’re going to convey yourself: what you do and what you’re about; the second part is the ability to communicate this succinctly, effectively and with ease. (The three go hand-in-hand.)
Effective networking and business development efforts must successfully communicate points of differentiation. Clarifying what sets you or your firm apart from competitors in advance is really helpful.
Make yourself visible – get out there with the goal of connecting with people. A cliché, but you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Visibility makes you more credible. People will not only know who you are and what you do, but they’ll also know you’re good at it! Not only will they want to talk to you, but they’ll also want to do business with you too!
Spread your net wide
Having a diverse network is just as important as having a large network.
The old saying related to ‘assumptions’ rings true here. In such a small and close-knit marketplace, referrals are incredibly important – you never know who can open that door for you!
Personable yet professional
Remember, people are drawn to people who are similar to themselves. The more overlap you have on a personal level, the more likely you are to create a relationship on a business level. People bond over mutual areas of interest.
Think of three talking points to bring to a conversation, and practice.
Finally, and the most obvious, make sure you look like a person other people want to speak to – smile, maintain good eye contact and speak confidently. Approachability is key.
Give and take
Give as much as you can. Successful networking isn’t solely about getting what you want. It’s about giving people who are important to you what they want too.
It’s easy to maintain the relationship when you’re actively in need of something, but ideally, you want to be the go-to person when someone’s in need.
If you ever lose touch, don't hesitate to rekindle the relationship.
Stay in touch
Staying in touch may seem like effort, but you’ve got to be in it to win it! With technology at our disposal, there’s no excuse not to stay in touch.
Follow up the first meeting with a call or an email and actively work on the relationship over a lunch or further meeting.
The key to successful networking is to always remember you're working on building real and meaningful relationships with professional contacts.
Networking is no different to the other skills you acquire: practice makes perfect!