The Comfortable Way for Lawyers to Network

Just as Stephanie Francis Ward suggests in her article, Shy Lawyers’ Guide to Becoming a Rainmaker, there is a major quality of many lawyers that serve them will when it comes to networking – their ability to research.

How do the two go together? As Ward suggests, it is all about focus.

When we network in an unstructured environment, we typically focus on the social elements of meeting, greeting, holding a conversation and trying not to look bad. That leads us to watching ourselves. And just like in the world of theatre and performance, if we are “on stage” watching ourselves, we sound contrived, we look arrogant and we constantly do things that cause us to disconnect with our audience. At least that’s the experience I’ve had when I focus on myself. And it’s quite frustrating. The focus shift to paying attention to those around makes all the difference.

So when Ward suggests we focus on those around us through the eyes of a researcher, this gives the lawyer hope while putting them in their own comfort zone. They know their strengths in this arena, and if they are focusing on themselves from time to time, it will be to pay attention to these strengths.

Yet in focusing on others, the research is about what brings those we are meeting to the event. One of my favorite opening questions is, “What brings you here today/tonight?” Often the response is “I was told this is a good place to learn about…..” or “I came here with my teammate” or “I usually don’t know what to say at places like this so I thought I’d check it out with my friend”.

You ask someone what they do and who they work for and suddenly you have to bring some conclusion to their value or the organization they are with. Sticking with the “attraction” to the individual allows you to learn what their needs are, how this is working for them and other things that give you insight on how to support them.

Research is a comfortable focus for the lawyer, especially the introvert. It gives us peace of mind, it spurs us into quality and conscientious activity. So if business building and relationship building can be focused on as research vs. social behavior, all the better. Happy connecting! 

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On July 15th, 2011, posted in: introverts, lawyers, networking, research by
2 Responses to The Comfortable Way for Lawyers to Network
  1. I knew you were an introvert, but I bet you’re right that most pelpoe wouldn’t pick up on it.I also am an extreme introvert: I love pelpoe, but they exhaust me. One wonderful thing about massage is that so long as my client isn’t a chatterer it doesn’t run down my social battery at all: in fact, it seems to recharge it. I have one circle of friends in which it’s simply accepted that I will work on somebody if they come within range, shoulders or feet or hands, and I can socialize with these pelpoe all day without exhaustion. But of course you can’t do that with strangers And email & social media are likewise a godsend, allowing me to communicate without exhausting myself.

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