Listen into every word at a cocktail reception of lawyers, industry professionals, reporters, and corporate executives following a one day seminar for corporate leaders and in-house counsel. Pull out isolated 140 character phrases from the conversation. Think they’ll all be priceless words of wisdom on which one could hang the next large business deal? Hardly.
You’d be just as apt to hear someone talking about buying a recent puppy, which vodka they like best, or the recent weather as offering valuable insight and commentary on the law or industry happenings.
But that does not dismiss the value of you, as a lawyer, attending that reception. The opportunity to engage and connect with your target audience so you can get to know each is invaluable. Developing relationships through networking opportunities is the stuff client development in the law is made of.
Plus, much of networking and making connections with your target audience is done through conversation about subjects other than the law and business. Relationships flourish based on getting to really know people. And that means getting to know things relating to each others’ personal lives.
In the legal world, we hear from GCs time and again that, with all things being equal, they hire lawyers they know, like and trust.
Social networking isn’t about “selling” a product or a service; it is about expanding our networks and connecting with people with similar or like interests. It’s about becoming known, liked and trusted by those in a position to hire or refer us business.
Kevin O’Keefe was amongst my first follows on Twitter. As we learned by using the tool, I would “listen” in as Kevin would Tweet baseball games. I got to know Kevin, like Kevin and trust Kevin through Twitter and other social media and networking tools.
While a lot of people were still questioning Twitter, we spent time over coffee, over the phone, texting about how social networking could impact client development for lawyers.
One thing became extremely apparent early on: Twitter was extremely powerful (and quick) in identifying a broad network of people with whom we could network and develop relationships. We just had to figure out how to convert these relationships into new business. Turns out, it isn’t that complicated.
Sure, you can dismiss Twitter as not as valuable as other means of networking you do (I wouldn’t), but some lawyers feel ill at ease working a room a cocktail reception or playing a round of golf with clients. Such lawyers may find writing or delivering presentations more effective for client development. That’s okay. To each their own.
In the case of Twitter, many lawyers and other legal professionals are finding it invaluable in networking and building relationships with their target audience. The fact that much of the information shared is babble or that you don’t use Twitter for client development is irrelevant.