It’s fair to say that most of us are perhaps a little rusty when it comes to networking skills. The last two years hasn’t exactly made it easy to attend events and make new connections or cement existing ones. Here are some top tips, aimed specifically at junior lawyers, about how to maximise networking opportunities:
- Actively seek out opportunities to network. Networking doesn’t need to be limited to JLD events or events your supervising partner invited you along to. It doesn’t even necessarily need to be anything related to work. Any opportunity to meet and get to know new connections constitutes networking. You ideally need to be networking not just with clients or potential clients but also with your legal peers in your own firm and other firms and with other professionals such as barristers and agents. A family partner said recently that everyone is either a client, potential client or another family lawyer and whilst this attitude lends itself more readily to certain practice areas there is an element of never knowing when connections might come in handy.
- Make sure you have business cards and that the contact details on them are up to date and perhaps more importantly make sure you take them with you and that you hand them out!
- Join alumni groups, other groups and associations that you are interested in and make connections via these either by attending events or online.
- LI profile and online brand is just as important as real life first impressions. Ensure your LinkedIn profile is up to date. Actively create content and engage with others on LinkedIn via connections and posts but also by joining groups and following companies or organisations. This is a point that is perhaps particularly useful if you’re naturally an introvert and you don’t like the idea of building your network via face-to-face events.
- Think in advance about what you want to achieve from the event. Is there anyone you particularly want to meet? Anyone you already know but need to speak to or anyone where you could introduce them to someone else? Try to have a plan in your mind about getting something out of the event.
- Arrive early; there are often people arriving on their own who are more receptive to meeting others plus it’s easier to spot body language of small groups who are open to speaking to a newcomer.
- Ask questions and don’t forget to listen too. Don’t feel you just have to ask questions about work.
- Have a ready excuse for moving on. It’s so easy to find yourself in a comfortable position of catching up with people you already know and before you know it the event is over.
- After the event, make sure you follow up any connections you’ve made and try to keep in touch with them regularly.
- Jot down notes on any business cards you’ve been given to help you remember people you’ve met. This could be information such as the days they work or names of family members they have mentioned or a holiday they have planned.
If you would like to arrange a confidential chat about your career plans or to find out more about current opportunities, please contact Cathryn Holmes at Chadwick Nott.
(t) 0117 9171854
Please also feel free to link in with me on https://www.linkedin.com/in/cathryn-holmes/