Networking is an important part of a successful career, especially when it comes to lawyers. Your employer may be great right now, or you may be junior enough that you’re not expected to bring in that much business, but a few years down the road, when you’re up for partnership or you’re considering switching jobs, you definitely don’t want to find yourself without a professional network.
It is imperative that you start building your professional network as soon as possible, and we’re going to look at a few tips for being more efficient at connecting with people.
- Networking means developing relationships. It’s not about selling, as business happens when mutually beneficial relationships have been established over time. Even if it’s time consuming, building relationships will be worth it in the end. Lawyers and undertakers are the types of people that other people generally don’t want to meet, so you have to develop your networking skills extra hard so people will find you affable.
- Invest work and preparation into networking. As with anything, to be really good at something, you have to work at it. Don’t go to networking events five minutes before they start, go there 40 minutes earlier, see who will be attending, introduce yourself to strangers, and make sure you have a lot of business cards in your hand, not in your wallet. And most importantly, do not sit with your friends. Standing around talking to people you know is not networking, it’s socializing.
- Put down your phone. Your next big client isn’t going to come in the form of an e-mail while you’re waiting for your coffee. The barista’s father could be the CEO of a company. Talk to everyone around you. Networking is all about having an attitude of engagement, not about going to networking events. You network every single day, not just once a week.
- Social media is here to stay. It’s not just something that young people are into. Companies that do not embrace change are left in the dust as its competitors adapt to what’s new, and the same goes for people. Use social media to distribute your thought leadership. Using social media will help with SEO and it will make you look like a knowledgeable voice if you use it correctly. Use it in the wrong way, though, and you will look like a poser.
- Go big on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the preferred social media platform for your prospects. It’s a great prospecting tool and it can do a lot to improve your SEO. Make sure your profile is detailed, that your photo is nice and professional looking, be active by engaging in discussions and posting content, and try to get lots of recommendations from your previous clients.
- Your elevator pitch doesn’t matter. Reeling potential clients in isn’t what it used to be in the ‘90s. What you need to focus on the most is your online presence, and a crucial part of this is owning the first page of Google. When someone searches for you, they need to have a lot of content served right from the start. Build a website, use social networking, have others talk about you, whatever you can come up with that will put you everywhere on the first page of a Google search.
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