I have never adhered to the old adage, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” However, I have found that one of the real joys of being a lawyer is that law practice allows us contact to all kinds of interesting people in all walks of life. I have also found that the most successful people in our business seem to know everyone.
I was motivated to write this column when I overheard a lawyer say to another lawyer: “If I hear the word ‘networking’ again I am going to puke! That’s all we are ever asked to do is network, and I am sick of it.” My immediate thought was, “Whoa, what is this all about? Why would someone seemingly hate networking?”
There is no short answer to why some people have grown to despise the word “networking.” One simple reason is time. We are so constrained by the demands of our business that taking time to meet others is viewed by some as a burden. Another reason may be personality. Some people simply enjoy meeting and greeting new people, while others view it as awkward and nerve wracking.
Nevertheless, in this crowded, noisy, distracting world it is ever harder for a person to be noticed; it is increasingly challenging for advertising and marketing to attract attention. The very best way for lawyers to grow and maintain business is through relationship building…one person at a time. It can be done in person or through social media, but ultimately in person works the best.
If your efforts at networking are going to be worthwhile, then they need to be sincere and you need to be authentic. You need to meet people in a setting where they can get to know you. One of the benefits of belonging to the IndyBar is that we have so many chances for lawyers to interact with one another.
Our committees, seminars and events like Bench Bar all provide time to meet others and to tell them who you are. The Indy Attorneys Network Section allows members to be introduced to one another once a month so that lawyers can meet one another at times and places convenient to them. The section also features coffees, receptions and fun “speed networking” events. Our committees allow members to speak and to volunteer and to show professional friends who they are and what they know. If you are not involved, please consider getting involved.
My favorite saying is, “Dogs don’t bark at parked cars!” If you want to build your business and your professional contacts, then you need to be out moving around so that you can get the dogs barking. Don’t think of it as networking. Call it “Friend Making.” Friends help friends, and at IndyBar we want to be your friend.•