Group of PeopleI returned from a bar association conference over the weekend and it made me reflect again about networking basics on which I can keep working.  Networking is relationship building no matter if you are a lawyer, baker or candlestick maker.

Tip 1.  Get comfortable with your self introduction or “elevator speech.”

  • Keep it simple.  Focus on the benefits of what you do and for whom.  “I help small businesses avoid legal problems“  vs. “I am an associate at Smith, Jones & White.”
  • Consider your audience and modify your introduction accordingly.
  • Say what you really enjoy.  Your interest and energy will shine through.

Tip 2.  Think “help this person.”

  • Provide value first.  What goes around comes around.  For example, you can:
  • Be a connector – – put other people together for their mutual benefit.
  • Be a resource or sounding board.
  • Ask “how can I help you here?”

Tip 3.  Improve your listening skills.

  • Focus on the other person instead of what is going on in your head.
  • Be curious about them.
  • Hear who they are, want they need or want.  Listen for their “pain”.
  • Listen twice as much you talk.

Tip 4.  Develop the skill of acknowledging others.

  • This is different than giving a compliment or praise.  It reinforces the person’s foundation.
  • Acknowledgment sees who the other person is rather than simply what they did.  ie.  “You are tenacious” vs. “You did a great job.”
  • After you acknowledge someone, be silent and notice the effect.

Tip 5.  Confidence.

  • Focus on others instead of on how you feel.
  • Start and keep going.  It gets easier.

If you would like coaching on these or other networking and relationship building skills, please contact me.