You will be surprised by the power and effect of networking. Whether you’re looking for a new job or growing your business, the ability to network is crucial to your success. The ability to connect with industry leaders and other professionals in your field will not only open doors for you but it will accelerate your career growth.
For some, the idea of networking can be daunting, but over time you can easily master the art of selling yourself. To help you get started, here are some tips that worked for me as a junior lawyer:
Build up your LinkedIn profile: This is the best place to start because you can capitalise on your existing networks. Maximise your profile by following groups, adding skills and sharing and re-sharing relevant content. While your profile grows, so too will the information on your feed. Keep an eye open for upcoming networking events and when you find one, book yourself in. If you see a colleague attending an event, reach out and ask if you can attend.
When you attend an event, think about the objective: What do you hope to achieve from it? Why are you attending a networking event and connecting with people? Who should you talk to and what do you want them to know about you? By thinking critically about these questions, you help create your game plan and better position yourself for success. Make sure you speak to the people attending that you need to.
Consider your body language, speak with conviction and listen: When you meet someone make sure to maintain eye contact, smile and actively listen to what they have to say. This is a great time to make a genuine connection with the person and possibly exchange business cards. When it’s your turn to speak, be clear and concise and try to add value to the conversation. Remember not to exaggerate, stay humble and be positive.
Talk about interests outside of law: I hope this one is obvious but if it’s not, try asking your new connection about their hobbies and interests outside of work rather than what they thought about the dissenting opinion of the High Court judge presiding over some random case. Doing this can redirect the conversation into something interesting and offers the opportunity to get to know one another in a relaxed environment.
Play the long game: Don’t expect to go to a networking event and expect results immediately. Be a master tactician and understand that networking is a long-term strategy that flourishes by helping others and building your reputation as a trust-worthy and reliable professional.
Follow-up and follow through: As famous author and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn once said “fortune is in the follow-up”. This means that you MUST commit and be willing to stay connected with the people you just met. If you followed the tip above and learned your new connection is an avid footy fan like you, reach out and see if he/she would like to watch an upcoming match together. This is how valuable long-lasting connections are made. The day after the event you should invite the people you meet to connect with you to reinforce the introduction and remind them about you.
Remember that the secret to networking is that it is actually the art of building and maintaining relationships. Focus on establishing trust with those you connect with and watch your network grow!
Jas Bassi is a Consultant at Burgess Paluch and an ex-lawyer. For a confidential chat about your career you can contact Jas on 03 8676 0331 or [email protected]