Page 14

Article

Networking: The Art of Socialising with Intent Networking: a word designed to strike fear into the heart of many lawyers. was one of them - comfortable and confident when dealing with clients and fellow professionals, less sure of myself when entering a room full of strangers.

I

Then in 2009, when I began managing our network, VWV approach for other law firms, I had to find a way to connect with other lawyers, and I began going to more networking events. I have outlined some of my top tips for networking. Networking is Public Relations Networking is an opportunity to prove the old adage that people buy people. Think about who needs to know about you and your firm and where you might find these people. Choose the right event for you There are numerous events to choose from, so pick the correct format for you. I'm not much of a morning person, so tend to avoid breakfast events, for example. A large room full of people you don't know might be a fun challenge for some; others will prefer a smaller group. Think about who the audience might be at a particular event and whether they are suitable for your message. Picking the wrong event will negatively impact on your belief in the power of networking - you'll feel it was a waste of your time or that networking doesn’t work. Regular attendance at events builds confidence. If you're a happy networker, why not take along a colleague who is less confident, so they can learn from what you do? Meeting strangers confidently Preparation works for me. If there is a list of attendees available in advance of an event, I'll take the time to go through it and highlight those I'd be interested in speaking with. Even if I know others in the room, I always aim to speak to at least one new person. The great thing about a networking event is that everyone is there for the same purpose, so starting a conversation before should be straightforward. There is no need to overthink it - just say hello. Be brave and you'll probably find the person you choose will be grateful you've taken the first step. Focusing and building on common ground Actively listen to what another person is saying, particularly when they tell you their name, as it shows interest in them rather than their business. Remembering a person's name and using it during the conversation will impress them and help imprint their name in your memory.

14

CENTRAL LONDON

Try to avoid the temptation to make the interaction all about work - they may have had similar conversations with others and your aim is to stand out from the crowd, so share something about yourself and aim to find out more about them personally. Following up You faced your fears, you went to the event and you talked to people. The key thing now is to follow up with those you met. They may not instruct you immediately but each point of contact you have with them makes it more likely they will think of you when they need help in future. Connect with them on LinkedIn as a minimum step - this gives you exposure to their ideas and content (and vice versa) and an easy way to keep in touch. If something specific came up during your conversation, make reference to it in a phone call or email - share an article or introduce them to someone who meets their need. Generosity is always appreciated and will reflect well on you. Ten top tips • Do your homework - take a look at the list of attendees and think about who you'd like to meet • Travel light - check in your coat/bags (it is difficult to shake hands if yours are already full!) • Stand near the refreshments - people will effectively come to you • Use your host - ask them to introduce you to people, they will relish the opportunity to ensure you get the most out of their event • Be interested rather than worrying about being personally interesting! • Listen well • Break into conversations where you can and don't be afraid to move on • Good manners matter - leave your phone alone • Follow up - ask permission to add them to your database, suggest meeting up, do it! • Stay on their radar and be patient

Jo Campbell Senior associate at VWV and business development manager for the VWV approach network

Central London February 2018  

Westminster and Holborn Legal Business Magazine with the Latest Legal Business News, Law Society News and Updates, Local Partnership News, P...

Central London February 2018  

Westminster and Holborn Legal Business Magazine with the Latest Legal Business News, Law Society News and Updates, Local Partnership News, P...