A recent article in the Harvard Business Review, Don’t Waste Your Time on Networking Events, suggests we shouldn’t waste our time going to networking events.
The most basic problem with traditional networking events is that they are mixing bowls for professionals who are there for different reasons. Everyone there is focused on his or her own personal agenda,…
When it comes to law firm marketing, offline networking events aren’t dead. The article suggests three alternate suggestions which I agree with, just not the overall blanket statement the title suggests.
Going to offline events, including trade and association events, connects you with colleagues and potential clients. You might have fun too.
— Samantha Collier (@samtaracollier) September 26, 2016
Traditional, offline networking events are valuable for many reasons.
- You interact with your colleagues, industry experts and potential clients at offline events. You also meet potential referral sources.
- You build a consistent presence by attending annual conferences. For example, if you’re focused on B2B networking, annual conferences reacquaint you with contacts you met the previous year.
- You build your “human” side. Hanging out with people in real life is priceless. There’s nothing like shaking someone’s hand, or laughing together at a random joke. You can do that via email or text.
- You might get speaking opportunities. Event organizers might ask you to host an event talking about your practice area. This builds your reputation as an expert in your field.
- You get random opportunities. Think about all the clients you have. How did you get each one? I bet some were completely random. Some of my best clients came about this way.
- You meet people you’ve interacted with online. I met people I’ve been tweeting with since 2010 this way.
I met Karen Cariello on Twitter today. She made a good point.
— Karen Cariello (@karencariello) September 26, 2016
Lawyers have busy schedules. I used to be an executive assistant to a managing partner, and I took care of all the billing – I know about your long days and nights. The majority of “business development” time I logged during my life as an EA was conference attendance, bar association events, etc.
Attending networking events, in addition to other marketing activities, is an excellent way to meet potential clients, mingle with friends you haven’t seen in awhile and hopefully, have a good time.
P.S. If you avoid networking events because you’re an introvert or shy, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I’m an introvert at heart so I know where you’re coming from. The more you go, the more comfortable you’ll be. I found this video with attorney networking tips you might find useful.