Networking — A Necessary Part of Bringing in Business
Referrals always were and remain the bread and butter of a law practice. Connecting with your colleagues is one of the best ways to expand your referral network and obtain new clients.
It used to be that traditional face-to-face networking was one of the only ways to do this. But with the advent of social media, all that changed. These days, lawyers have more options than ever when it comes to networking.
Sadly, “effective networking” made the MyCase list of the Top 10 Things You Didn’t Learn in Law School, because very few law schools even address this topic–especially when it comes to online networking. In fact, most law schools discourage law students from interacting online and often emphasize the risks rather than the benefits.
This is unfortunate, since connections made using social media can be a critical resource–especially when combined with good old fashioned face-to-face networking. The question is, where to start and how to best combine the two?
Face-To-Face Networking Is Invaluable
First and foremost, understand that social media should never serve as a substitute for traditional networking. Instead, think of it as a way of enriching and supplementing more traditional networking functions such as local bar association events, legal conferences or the always important business lunch. These types of face-to-face meetings are invaluable and should never be overlooked.
Of course, in person networking can sometimes be challenging. Not everyone enjoys small talk. It’s a skill that needs to be mastered in order for it to be effective. And, if you’re not the most extroverted person out there, small talk can sometimes feel like torture.
So, instead of making small talk, try another well known technique: ask questions instead. Why does this work? Because it gets the other person talking, helps you to find common ground, and is a great way to break the ice.
Don’t Overlook The Value Of Social Networking
Sure face-to-face networking is important, but by using online networking effectively, you can amplify the reach of your in-person networking–and best of all, you can do it on your own schedule! Inconvenient after-hours networking events can be worthwhile, but are time consuming. Social media interaction is far more flexible and can be done no matter where you are, on any Internet-enabled device.
But, keep in mind that once you’ve connected online with other lawyers, don’t forget to take the next step and bring things full circle! Move your online interaction offline by scheduling coffee or lunch or, if the person isn’t located nearby, reaching out by phone. By taking this very important step you personalize the interaction and make it memorable. By taking the online offline, you strengthen the connection and make it worthwhile.
Where To Start With Online Networking?
Two of the online platforms most frequented by lawyers are Facebook and Linkedin. Both platforms are great for connecting and interacting with other attorneys, referral sources–and even potential clients.
One way to network on Facebook is to create a Facebook page for your law firm. Depending on your firm’s geographic location and areas of practice, this can be a very effective method for expanding your firm’s online reach. For some law firms, a Facebook page can be a very successful endeavor.
Learn More About Creating Stronger Connections With Ari Kaplan …
Now that you have a foundation, build on it by attending the upcoming webinar, Accountability - The Key To Standing Out Online and Off. Lawyer, author, law coach and public speaker Ari Kaplan will explain how to create stronger connections with clients, prospects, and colleagues among other tips for reinventing your personal profile and creating opportunities for your business.
Don’t miss this special presentation on Thursday, July 31st at 11 AM PT (2 PM ET).
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