Roberta M. Gubbins, Esq.
I Write Content--You Practice Law

Draft Three / blog

How to Network Face to Face

Face to face networking should be a big part of your marketing plans.

Meeting people face to face, sharing experiences, ideas and interests is a valuable opportunity to keep your name and practice a step ahead. Meeting in person lets your online acquaintances put a face to the name they see on the blog or e-mail or website and helps build trust while creating a positive rapport for future discussions.

In person networking takes time and there is a slight risk you will be off your game that day. Be that as it may, face to face meetings are an opportunity to build stronger and mutually beneficial relationships. And, don’t forget, professional networking can take place at dinners, social events, your child’s football or dance recital and even in elevators.

Networking at a reception
Once the decision to network in-person is made, the next questions are: “Who is your ideal client? And, what trade, industry or civic groups would they join?”

For example, if you’re are an animal law attorney, you might attend animal law conferences, volunteer at the local zoo or animal shelter or offer a workshop on establishing a trust for your pet. You can’t be everywhere so research to find associations that permit meaningful involvement and have active committees you can join. Simply joining the group isn’t enough—think about where your interests lie and what skills you can offer. Come to be known as a person who can add value to the group.

Before you attend an event, think about how to make the most of your time:

  • Pinpoint your networking goal,
  • Discover who will be there, decide who you want to meet and ask yourself what you want to know about them,
  • Have a 10 second introduction ready. People want to know both your name and area of practice, and
  • Think about what you have to give to others. 

Now you’re at the event, it’s the cocktail hour, everyone is milling around. Some of you are naturals at these events—you can schmooze with the best of them. Most of us could use some opening lines, such as:

  1. How long have you been a member of this organization?
  2. What keeps you busy outside of your practice?
  3. What got you interested in ________________?
  4. I read your book, blog, article …,
  5. I just saw on LinkedIn that we went to the same college.

Leave the conversation gracefully. You can do this by introducing the person to a new arrival if known or simply comment on how much you’ve enjoyed talking with them and excuse yourself. Then move on.

You aren’t done simply because the event is over. If you promised a follow-up, do it or you will lose credibility that you can never get back. Within a week of the event, follow through with your new or recharged contacts. If you provided them with promised information, or introduced them to a new contact check to see if things worked out.

A healthy network is made up of contacts from all parts of your life. Be sure your family, friends, acquaintances, vendors at the office, your staff and court staff all know what type of law you practice. Face to face networking added to your Internet campaign will help your practice grow.
Face to Face Networking