In the last blog, we talked about why it is important to devote time to networking. Today we’ll delve a little deeper into that idea and talk about how effective networking for attorneys begins with building the right habits. If you want to learn more about developing your personal best networking strategies, call us at (312) 981-0119.
While it’s easy to say that adopting positive behaviors will solve all your networking woes, there’s certainly more to the art of becoming a successful networker than simply registering for one event. In his book THE POWER OF HABIT (2012), business reporter Charles Duhigg describes the key elements to changing poor habits. Duhigg categorizes three main components to any habit: cue, routine, and reward.
For instance, when I was a teenager and into my twenties, I was a nail biter. Whenever I’d feel a sharp or extended nail on my finger (the cue), I’d put my finger in my mouth and bite it off (the routine), and then the nail was short and smooth (the reward). It took me years to figure out how to eliminate the bad habit, and it had to do mainly with changing the routine. What I did was to place rubber bands around my wrists. Then when I’d feel the sharp nail (the cue) and move to place the finger in my mouth (the routine), I’d see the rubber band and remember to snap the rubber band rather than putting my finger in my mouth. This method caused me to change the routine over time. Instead of the finger going into my mouth, I replaced the routine with a different, painful one. That had a powerful impact. I also bought five to ten nail clippers and kept them around me at home and in my office to ensure I had the proper tools handy to accomplish the reward of having a short and smooth nail.
This same principle applies to effective networking for attorneys. Make an effort to develop a routine of scheduling business development activities in the morning, before your day gets carried away with other matters. Try scheduling 30 minutes on a Monday or Friday morning to research events and make calls to schedule networking appointments. Also devote time to developing your elevator pitch, which is another essential part of effective networking for attorneys. Not only will this routine help you get appointments, but it will also make you feel great the remainder of that day. If you recall, good behaviors equal positive attitudes.
Another approach is to look for the cue when you’re tempted to avoid working on business development activities. For instance, you might notice that you feel overwhelmed when you see an event on your calendar, or that you feel disappointed when, at the end of the week, you realize that you’ve done very little to advance your networking.
Either way, you should try to observe the possible cues and routines to identify the patterns and make efforts to change the routines. The best way to develop those habits to further your business development goals is to schedule time to devote to it and to have a special reward in place once the task is completed. These are time-tested strategies to gain positive networking momentum.