With the annual NACBA Convention just around the corner, are you prepared to make important connections?
Creating a strong network can help you and your bankruptcy firm improve your business, provide great resources, and strengthen your abilities as a lawyer. You might even find a mentor, great partner, or future employer through your networking. But to get the most out of your networking efforts, you’ll need to put your best foot forward.
We’ve gathered some helpful networking tips to help you navigate any industry event, while making the most of the opportunity to meet new people that can benefit your bankruptcy firm’s business!
5 networking tips for bankruptcy attorneys to use at NACBA and other events
1. Make sure you have a targeted list of people to meet:
Most people see networking as just simply walking into a crowd and making the rounds. But with a big conference like NACBA, it can be pretty overwhelming and exhausted trying to talk to everyone you see.
That’s why starting off with a targeted list can help you direct your energy and time in the most optimal way. A list is also a great way for introverted people to meet others: by doing a little research on someone you want to meet, you can start a conversation more easily.
Start with a list of people who inspire you, work in your particular field, or do something you’re interested in doing for yourself or your firm. They could be presenters on various panels, staff at a particular company, or a special guest. You can check attendance lists, panel schedules, or even social media to see where they might be at the conference. Even better, you can contact them in advance to see if they’d like to meet up during the conference. By creating a targeted list, you’ll at least meet a few people who can provide valuable information to you.
2. Start with Hello:
Everyone is a little shy at conferences, and it can be hard to stand out. But simply saying “hello” or “hi” to people you see or complimenting others on their presentations, you’ll be able to build more confidence to start conversations. Better yet, the other person might take the initiative if you begin with a hello.
If you want to take the initiative, it’s helpful to come with a few ice breaker questions. For example, ask questions like “What’s your specialty?” or “Which panels have you attended?” This can help keep the conversation going with anyone in attendance.
3. Listen thoughtfully:
You might have been in this situation: you meet someone very briefly, exchange pleasantries and business cards, then simply move on. Or, you might have started a conversation with someone, but that person seemed distracted and eventually moved on. With those brief meetings, did you ever contact those individuals back?
Your time is valuable, as is anyone else’s time. It’s important to use that time wisely and respectfully, especially with people you want to meet. When you begin a new conversation, make sure you pay thoughtful attention. Ask questions and show interest: this will definitely make you memorable after the show or conference and help you build genuine relationships.
4. Volunteer at the conference:
If you have some time before a conference, it can help to be on the serving side instead of the attendee side. Helping out can give you great perspective and also build your networking or socializing skills. People will also more likely approach you as a helpful resource, saving you time from seeking out others. In addition, volunteering can come with some perks: organizers might provide special VIP passes to specific parts of the conference or introduce you to special guests.
5. Make it a team goal with your staff and colleagues:
If you’re traveling with a few colleagues or a team, it can be helpful to tackle each person’s networking goals together. For example, maybe you’ve already met a VIP that’s on your colleague’s list–you can help introduce your colleague to that person. At the conference, you and your team to keep a look out for people they’d like to meet, or even plan dinners or lunches to better connect with new friends, clients, or partners. Working together can also help new staff members become more comfortable at their first conference as well.
Whether you take these tips to this year’s convention or to your next conference, you’ll be glad you put these networking skills to use.
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