A good network can be powerful and open doors. From securing coveted concert tickets to securing a client, your network can help. Networking opportunities exist everywhere you go, from the playground to the office. You should always be on and have your antenna up. Whether you are an extrovert or an introvert, just be yourself, be positive and approachable, and make a conscious effort to meet new people.
Networking is important for so many reasons, including business development. A great amount of business can be secured through referrals from your network. Therefore, you should build a diverse network of contacts, and make sure your contacts know exactly what you do. Often people reach out to their networks for recommendations when looking to hire a service provider, and you want others to think of you.
Attending an event, like one of the Massachusetts Bar Association’s Summer Socials, is a great way to meet new contacts and build your network. Make sure you follow up with the people you meet at events to ensure maximum return on investment. Even if you meet one person that you connect with and stay in touch, it makes attending the event worthwhile. You never know where a connection can lead to. If you just stay in your office and don’t attend events, you are going to have a smaller network and will miss out on referral and other opportunities.
As you build your network, develop a system to identify important contacts in your network that you should stay in touch with, review it regularly, and track your activity. In addition to seeing your contacts, always look for ways you can help them and be a connector. Relationship building and mutually beneficial relationships are key.
There are various ways to stay in touch, such as reaching out to your contacts for reasons ranging from saying happy birthday to congratulating them on a promotion or award. Scanning updates on LinkedIn is a good way to stay informed as to what is going on with your network.
Building and maintaining a good network is a continuous process. You should always add to your network, but make sure you always focus on staying in touch with your existing contacts and continue to build the relationships. If you want to build your network, you need to get out there. Build your network and a variety of opportunities will come your way.
Ellen Keiley, CPC is president of EMK Consulting Group, LLC, a provider of certified business development coaching and public relations services for law firms and other professional services firms. She can be reached at email@example.com or 781-696-3104. www.emkconsultinggroup.com