November 2, 2012
Taking it back to the old school…
I recently received an invitation in the mail for a networking event at the law school I attended. My first thought was, “Will they be serving those delicious-looking tiny desserts I never got to try as a law student?” My second was, “Why would I need a networking event when I have Facebook?”
The truth is that in-person networking events still serve a very important purpose for attorneys, even in the time of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networking platforms that allow you to connect with your colleagues without having to leave your comfort zone. Face-to-face interaction is still king.
In fact, this was the very point made in the article Facebook is Fine, But Here Are 10 Ways to Network in the Real World. A self-proclaimed introvert, the author of the article said it took her a long time to master networking, and she provided some helpful tips geared toward people who would rather work a chat room than a banquet room.
- Put your own agenda aside and listen. The author said remembering the things people tell you about their life is one of the most important things about networking. If you don’t have a very good memory, create notes in your contacts list so you can remember their details when you meet again. This is something everyone appreciates, the author said.
- Give thanks and positive feedback. If someone in your network does you a favor, be sure to thank them. Saying thank you is easy and goes a long way, while not saying thank you earns you a reputation for being ungrateful, the author said. Also, the surest way to win someone over is by noticing they did something good and thanking them for it, the article said.
- Keep people in the loop. In addition to thanking people in your network who do you favors or help you succeed, it’s important to follow up with them so they know the impact of their efforts. For example, the author said that all too often she writes letters of recommendations for people and never hears if the people she wrote them for ever got hired.
Finally, the author of the article said not to feel discouraged if networking doesn’t come easy right away. Like anything, it takes practice. Plus, if networking events are just not your thing, you can accomplish the same goals by just meeting people you like and staying in contact with them. Just put forth the effort to meet up for some in-person interaction every now and then, she said.