It’s almost the final quarter of the year and everyone I know has been swamped with work – which means you’re probably not thinking too much about where your next matter or case is coming from. We all know that’s the PERFECT time to be thinking about networking and business development!
Sorry, folks, I know it’s the last thing on your mind.
But, consider these four tips to shake things up and see what falls out of your networking tree – apologies, it’s fall and I can’t resist a good metaphor.
Already involved in an organization or with regular events where you network? Identify ways to be more active. Get on a committee for the fall or offer to assist with organizing and hosting an event. It will change who you’re interacting with and how you’re interacting with the organization. It also showcases you as an active participant and leader, which makes you more visible.
Do you feel like you’ve been meeting the right people, but not connecting? Find other ways to get to know each other. Identify some hobbies that you might have in common (golfing, fishing, tennis, running, cooking, axe throwing) and invite them to join you. If you’re not sure whether they’d enjoy the same things, do a little research on their firm or company bios as well as their social media profiles to see where there is some crossover. Finding fun local events is also a great way to both support the local community AND connect with your network – head to a harvest festival or pumpkin patch. It may feel silly, but it’s a great way to get to know people better.
If you haven’t found the right fit yet in terms of organizations or events, do some research to see what may work better for you. Check both your practice areas and your industry areas. Ask your clients what they’re attending. Is there an industry or practice that you’d like to get more work from? Look for events or organizations in those areas. Line up your calendar for the remainder of the year with a few events that you’d like to attend so that you don’t have to scramble for the rest of the year to adjust your schedule.
If you’re not a natural in-person networker, start online instead. Look for some new LinkedIn groups to join, where you commit to being an active participant or join Twitter. Perhaps you’re more passionate about speaking or writing and you decide to launch a podcast with one (or more!) of your clients or seek article placements for the fall in the trade publications where you’d like to be considered a thought leader. Yes, you’ve likely been really busy lately, but use the work that you’ve been doing (not the confidential client work), but the regular, easily answered questions, to inform your efforts here – how can you translate your busy-ness into written or oral work that can live online and develop business FOR you?
The key here is to shake things up a little bit. Some of what you’ve been doing will be working well, and you should keep doing those things. But if something doesn’t feel right, or it hasn’t been working for you, that just tells you that you don’t need to focus your energy there. So shift your focus elsewhere!