By Sarah Orefice • September 09, 2017•Issues, Other Issues
Networking events can be a pain, especially if you're not comfortable in a room-full of strangers. However, networking remains crucial to attorneys in that they get to access information about jobs and current developments in their field. Networking also helps lawyers meet potential clients and peers.
That being said, merely attending a networking event won't make the tide turn in anyone's favor. You have to work to make the event work for you!
So if you're an introvert or simply bad at striking up a conversation and holding it, here are some tips to help you break the ice and make networking easy.
#1 Draw Inspiration from the Location
Start easy by talking about the weather, the city, the traffic, the venue, or the food! Don't be too critical of anything, and don't get into a heated debate of any sort. When talking about the food, touch briefly on what you like or don't like. And don't talk with your mouth full!
#2 Introduce Yourself
If you're not a natural at making small talk, just start with a smile, a confident handshake, and your name. Say the minimum about yourself, highlighting academic achievements and talking about career goals. Don't sound arrogant though!
#3 Engage in a Bit of Personal Talk
Strictly limit personal talks to where you're from, where you've been brought up, and how you came to know about the event. Better yet, ask these questions to other attendees and they are likely to ask you right back. This will make conversation flow; just don't come across as inquisitive! Do refrain from discussing politics, religion, and sex.
#4 Discuss the Event
Instead of talking vaguely, bring up a specific speaker or a particular topic or statement they mentioned. Again, don't be overly critical of the event and speakers. Ask attendees if they have attended similar events, why or why not, and why they chose to attend this one. Even if you're engaging with a first-timer, there will be plenty of ‘me too' moments to keep a good conversation going.
#5 Talk Business
If you strike up a conversation with a practicing lawyer, say an uninsured motorist accident attorney from Woodland Hills or any other neighborhood, talking about just the weather won't get you far. Instead, talk about their work, bring up a case you heard about that's relevant to their practice, or ask them what inspired or drew them to this profession. Share your story too!
#6 Ask for Advice
Without overwhelming people, ask them to share any networking tips or industry related information that could be of help to you. Asking for advice can not only be a good conversation starter, but also prove to be of help for your career.
If you're attending an out-of-town event, you can consider asking people to suggest a good restaurant or hotel and take the conversation further. Even if the person you're chatting up is sailing in the same boat as you are, it's good to engage than stand alone in a corner with a drink in hand!
#7 Listen to What Others Have to Say
You're trying to hold a conversation, so don't say whatever it is you have to say and then walk away. Listen carefully when the other person is talking; if you are attentive, you're sure to earn brownie points!
When you ask questions, don't do it for the sake of initiating a conversation; listen to what the person has to say. Additionally, don't interrupt people when they are talking. If you want to discuss something they just mentioned, let them finish first, then tell them you want to talk with reference to a certain point.
#8 Prepare in Advance
Take some time out before the event to do your homework. It'll be of immense help to know who the speakers are, what they do, and what they are going to talk about. Draft a few good questions in your mind to use as conversation starters and to make an impression.
Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? If you have a networking event coming up right around the corner, do use these tips to break the ice and hold a conversation. We're sure you'll do amazingly well at the event!