Four Ways to Shift From Networking to Building Relationships

Are you networking, or are you building relationships?

Most lawyers hate “networking.” We’ve all been to those functions where you spend two hours walking around a room, shaking hands with everyone in site and exchanging business cards.

When you get back to your office and empty out your pockets, you have a huge stack of business cards… but be honest, how many of those people do you ever interact with again? It’s a very low percentage… because the short, pressure-packed interactions that occur at most networking events don’t lend themselves to real connections.

Stop “networking.” Focus instead on building relationships. Here are four ways you can begin to make this shift…

  1. Look for quality over quantity when it comes to organizations you’re involved in. Don’t spread yourself too thin… if you are involved in more than 3-5 organizations, chances are you don’t have the time to truly make the most of ANY of them. Instead joining every organization that you can find, commit to a small number of truly valuable organizations that make sense as part of your business development strategy. And then commit to truly contributing, not just showing up.
  2. Identify key individuals and get to know them… really get to know them. Rather than trying to accumulate hundreds of business cards, identify a small handful of people that could make a difference for your practice and life. Don’t assume things about a person… get to know them through your own experience of them. Ask them questions… learn about their likes and dislikes… follow up with them… buy them lunch… develop rapport. In time your investment will pay dividends.
  3. Look for opportunities to GIVE… before you GET. If you go into a relationship looking for what you can GET… the relationship will probably be short-lived. On the other hand, if you can GIVE value (referrals, expertise, assistance, whatever it may be), you are laying the foundation for a relationship that could benefit you for years to come.
  4. Don’t expect instant results. Don’t expect to see results overnight. Relationships take time, and building a strong network of trusted individuals doesn’t happen in a few weeks. It takes months and sometimes years… but one solid relationship with the right person is worth much more than hundreds of business cards gathering dust in your desk!

If you’d like to discuss this subject further, I would love to set up a complimentary coaching session with you. Email me today and let’s talk!