This article was published in the Lex Witness December 2017 issue.
If you’re one of the most active attendees during those breaks that conferences, here’s the time of the year when you’d like to get the most out of it. Right from attending festive dinners to retreats and more, this is your moment to roar out and put all your networking skills to test. And so, it is the time to get ready for out-of-the-box networking tips and ideas.
In the festive season, everyone gets into the game of gifting and sending greetings. Here are some ideas that you can explore for your wish list and outreach:
Season’s Greetings: Design customized season’s greetings, which reflects your firm’s brand essence and colors. Prepare a master outreach list of clients and partners, and send across the greeting cards or e-greetings. Put in a personal touch by writing short messages for those special people, and for the rest ensure that you at least sign the cards.
Gifts: Create lists of patrons, clients, and partners who are special to your business and deserve that special effort. Buy a different strata of gifts basis your level of association with them, and carve out a couple of days in your schedule to make a personal visit with the gifts. If you must courier your gifts, be sure to pick up the phone and show the gesture of calling them personally to let them know how much they mean to you and your organization.
Socials: Throw a party for your clients, partners, patrons, stakeholders, and most importantly your in-house assets, i.e. your employees. Take this time to show your appreciation to them, and be merry.
Use this holiday season to give back to the community. Here are some ideas:
As a firm/organization, raise funds and contribute to a charity. You can simply collect funds, or organize a drive/event, like runs, clothes & food drive etc. to donate to those in need.
Tie up with an NGO, and make an offsite visit to a destitute area, or school in your community. Carry food and clothes with you. Spend some quality time with the kids, raise awareness amongst your team and overall share the joy.
Organize a blood & organ donation camp in your area, and involve people beyond your existing circle, like other businesses in the community, neighbors, hospitals etc.
You will possibly be invited to a few gatherings this holiday season. Some will be purely social, while others will have business implications. Make sure you know the intent and interest behind each party you attend.
Here are a few holiday party networking tips:
1. Although you might have quite a few invites and it might be tempting to not attend a few, don’t turn down invites to holiday parties. The more contacts the better even if contact is minimal. You never know who you’ll meet, and the goal is to have a contact who remembers who you are and what you do. The more contacts you meet, the better your chances of finding someone who can help.
2. Everyone you meet could be a potential lead, so introduce yourself well. In addition to seeking out new clients, you can use holiday events to build rapport with your coworkers and support staff, to connect with other lawyers to grow your referral network, or to strengthen your relationships with existing clients. Practice and perfect the art of introducing yourself. Especially in the case of parties with an inclination for business and networking, keep in mind that your primary purpose is not to eat, drink and be merry. Rather, you are there to build and enhance important relationships. With that in perspective, be selective about the events you attend, arrive early, bring plenty of business cards, work the room, watch your manners, and get networking!
3. When networking, it’s great to be interesting, but it’s better to be interested. People love to talk about themselves and one of the best ways to establish a connection is to show some genuine interest in the life of your networking ‘target.’ If you’re going to a holiday event that you think will be good for networking, do some research beforehand. Know who will be in attendance and think of ways to connect with them. Take notes about the people you meet. After any holiday party, jot down on their business cards or on a contact info card what they do, a topic you discussed, or a common interest to jog your memory. This can be helpful for using in future contacting.
4. No networking event is successful unless you follow up with the contacts you met there. Drop a line, call them and meet over coffee or drinks after the networking event. This follow up can help cement a relationship and leave them with a more meaningful impression of you.
I am the Principal Consultant at the Lex Witness Strategic Counsel Desk, an invitation based initiative, which caters to various entities who seek to create and improve their brand and undertake market activation strategies in the Indian legal market space. Much beyond the space of the magazine, the Strategic Counsel Desk aspires to provide a holistic framework for the firm’s positioning and business growth, primarily focusing on the strength in the Indian legal industry.