WOULD YOU GO TO THE OPENING OF AN ENVELOPE? HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR NETWORKING EVENTS.
Networking is a vital skill needed for all professionals wanting to increase their profile. You will be invited to a myriad of different events and activities – breakfasts, lunches, dinners, keynote speaking events, drinks, cocktails, seminars and learning & development opportunities. But how do you choose which ones to attend?
Here is our simple guide of things to think about before you accept that invitation, or in some cases spend money, or your employer’s money:
If it is a legal seminar, is it in your area of expertise or related to it? Or is it an area where you can cross sell your expertise?
Will a colleague who needs support be speaking?
Will a client, or a potential client, be speaking or attending?
Is the intended audience just lawyers, or other professionals in the area?
Who will be there – ask the organiser for information on the type of person they are hoping to attract (they won’t give you names but may give you information you can work with)
Is the speaker of interest?
Will you learn something for yourself, which you can use or pass on to the firm on your return?
Will the event add value to your practice or personal development? Can you identify the ways it will do that?
Will you be able to meet new people and more importantly have an opportunity to speak with them and ‘sell’ yourself.
Make sure the event matches up with your personal brand – what is it that you want to be known for as a professional?
And finally – here is a great tip from a senior female in the legal profession, for whom networking is both purposeful and fun:
“I keep a record not only of what I attend and why, but what I don’t attend and why and review this on a quarterly and annual basis. This helps me see if I am giving my time and attention to the same things, and people, and if I am rejecting the same sorts of invitations. It means I can assess if what I am attending is adding value, and more importantly, what I am not attending and what I might be missing out on.”