Posted: October 12th, 2012
Our speed networking program last night was a huge success! Twenty-five law students met with twenty local attorneys from various firms and businesses. Modeled on the “speed dating” concept, the room was set up with numbered stations, and each student was matched with one or two attorneys. They were given five minutes to meet, ask questions, and give their “elevator speeches” before the bell was rung and the students shifted to the next station.
Participants (both students and attorneys) raved about this event. The format gave students an opportunity to hone their networking skills in a structured environment, while also meeting and developing relationships with practicing attorneys. There was an opportunity for additional informal networking following the timed portion.
After each group of students circled the room, the attorneys offered insightful advice and feedback to the students, including:
- Networking is a skill that can be learned. Even if you consider yourself shy or introverted, you can become a successful networker with practice.
- The best way to start is to ask questions of the other person. Try to find common ground – similar schools, interests, hobbies, etc., and then let the conversation flow from there.
- Listening skills are important! Try not to always be thinking about what you are going to say next.
- Show interest in the other person. Be careful not to make the conversation all about you.
- Do your research. Know something about the company or firm the person you’re speaking with works for.
- Employers hire based on likeability – when looking at a group of applicants who all have similar credentials, they will remember (and probably hire) the person with whom they most want to work on a daily basis.
- Networking is essential, and not just for your job search. This is a skill that you will use in practice, whether to gain clients, develop relationships with other attorneys, or grow within the firm.
- Follow up! After you meet someone, jot down where you met him/her and something about your conversation. Then send an email (it’s always a good idea to remind them where you met) and reiterate that you enjoyed speaking with him/her.
- You never know who will become a valuable business contact – always act professionally.
To see pictures from this event, visit our Facebook page. The next Speed Networking event with the NCBA Government & Public Sector Section will be on Tuesday, November 13 at noon. Registration is limited, so stay tuned for details!