Lawyers who reject the necessity of networking to one's career and book of business may forever be dependent on others to feed them. There are many lawyers who bury themselves in work and sometimes busy work just to avoid not having to attend a networking event. Does this sound familiar? Well... I have good news for you from a self confessed introvert and a self confessed extravert, Bill Stewart and Karl Stark. They wrote, for Inc. Magazine, Networking for Introverts: 3 Tips for Success.
They joke... "How many introverts does it take to hold a meeting? Two... as long as they both have laptops and Internet connections!" It seems you have lots of company in the legal profession "...more than 75% of people with IQs above 160 are introverts." Now that we know this is common, let's review the authors' solutions quoted from the book The Introvert's Guide to Success by Lisa Petrilli...
Network on your own terms.
Commit to networking, but in a way you will find comfortable:
Network one-on-one rather than in groups.
Look to create valuable, deep relationships with a modest number of valued leaders, rather than compiling a long Rolodex of superficial relationships.
Create a comfortable environment for yourself.
Learn about the individual in advance and think through the ways you can help them and vice versa.
Leverage your skills as an introvert.
Odds are, you are a good listener. Prepare some questions in advance that can get the conversation going.
A great approach... I know that the introvert lawyers that I coach could certainly accomplish these 3 steps. Though I think if we didn't use the word networking, we could help prevent panicking on the way to the event. Let's NOT call it networking... how about relationship building? Does that feel better? I would hope so, since that is exactly what you are doing... building relationships.