Networking is undeniably one of the most important tools a person can use to grow their business. And for many people, just the word “networking” brings up feelings of anxiety or distress.
Traditionally, networking is associated with attending events, meeting a bunch of strangers, and mindlessly passing out business cards. But the pandemic has prevented us from attending in-person events and required us to pivot. Now, we are learning to network virtually and use our time more effectively.
I like to think that the negative connotations of networking have changed for the better because of the pandemic. If you normally find networking challenging and avoid networking events, now is your time to shine!
For the first time ever, people are more than happy to meet virtually through Zoom. You can quite literally cherry-pick the people you want to get to know and set up a call with them within days of introducing yourself. The opportunities are limitless.
If you are not sure how to elevate your networking game, no worries.
Here are 5 tips to help you network like a pro:
Build a habit.
Stop treating networking like a chore and start to build it into your routine. I recommend blocking off a 30-minute calendar event at the same time every day and using that time to network. One day you might send a few invitations to connect on LinkedIn. Another day you may follow up with a list of prospects you have not heard from in a while. The key is to build a habit of networking regularly. Not only will this make networking less intimidating, but you will also inevitably become better at it over time. As they say, practice makes perfect.
Do your research.
The networking pros do their research. And I do not just mean a glance at a person’s LinkedIn profile. If you are meeting with someone new, do a quick Google search of their name to see what they have been up to. Are they listed in multiple companies? Have they been featured in an article? Do the same thing for their company’s name as well because you will want to know if anything notable has happened before meeting them. This tactic is also useful when prospecting and reaching out to cold leads. The more research you do, the better your introduction will be.
Be interested, not interesting.
I say this all the time, but I cannot reiterate it enough. The best networkers are interested, not interesting. They ask questions and listen to the other person, and they most definitely do not dominate the conversation. The ideal networking scenario should involve you talking less than half of the time. Here is why—people like to talk about themselves. When they leave the conversation, they will appreciate the fact that you listened to them and were genuinely interested. Also, you will learn something new about their business or a way you can offer help.
Provide meaningful introductions.
The networking pros provide value to their network. They provide meaningful introductions and expect nothing in return because they know that person is going to appreciate the help solving their problem or referring them business. You should always look out for ways to add value to your network by ways of introduction.
Create and maintain a list of the top people in your network, including clients, prospects, referrals, and centers of influence. Leave a space to note when the last time you checked-in to them was. And set a reminder to check your list at least once a week to see whom you need to catch up with. You would be amazed how many opportunities are missed simply because a conversation dropped off.
How do you network like a pro? I’d like to know. Schedule a Java with Jim so we can chat!
ABOUT JIM RIES
Director of Business Development
firstname.lastname@example.org | 410.209.6455
Offit Kurman is a full-service law firm with over 225 attorneys focused on representing privately-held businesses. With deep experience and knowledge dealing with the issues that business owners are regularly faced with, we bring value to every relationship. As Director of Business Development, Jim Ries drives revenue growth for Offit Kurman by helping business leaders and families of wealth address some of their most difficult challenges. He also identifies and develops strategic partnerships and market opportunities. Jim has access to a deep network of attorneys in every practice area, and he is able to connect his clients to the right attorney who can resolve their legal disputes and protect their assets. Jim is a master networker, and his high-level connections call him for solutions when they don’t know who to call. Let Jim be your Google.
ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN
At Offit Kurman, we are our clients’ most trusted legal advisors, professionals who help maximize and protect business value and personal wealth. In every interaction, we focus on furthering our clients’ objectives and provide timely services and within budget, all while focusing on the clients’ interests and goals.
Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the United States. With over 230 attorneys offering a comprehensive range of services in virtually every legal category, the firm is well-positioned to meet dynamic businesses’ needs, as well as the needs of the people who own and operate them. We also provide representation of individuals and families in diverse matters ranging from estate planning and asset protection to intellectual property structuring and entrepreneurial start-ups. Our International Group provides clients with a broad range of services for transactions and dispute representation for clients worldwide, including Europe, Canada, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa.
At Offit Kurman, we distinguish ourselves by the quality, breadth, and global reach of our legal services — as well as our unique operational structure, which encourages a culture of collaboration and entrepreneurialism. The same approach that makes our firm attractive to legal practitioners interested in representing clients in the middle market, also gives clients access to experienced counsel in almost every area of the law and in many jurisdictions in the U.S. and abroad
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