My Day at the Business Networking Institute
By Abel Contreras, Attorney at Law
In an effort to assist a fellow attorney this week, I substituted for him at his weekly Business Networking International meeting, which consists of a group of professionals all from different business fields looking to network with each other. Don’t get me wrong: this is certainly not an endorsement for this organization nor do I believe that BNI is necessarily the right networking option for all attorneys, however, this meeting reminded me of some of the essential networking skills that I have lost along my path to becoming an attorney.
There was another guest like myself who introduced himself first and gave a concise and nearly flawless introduction of his business. He is in the home healthcare space and he gave a very detailed description of the type of client he was looking for and how BNI could best assist him. The group then turned to me for my guest introduction. In typical “Abel” fashion, I deflected my fear and apprehension with humor. As all eyes were focused on me, I simply stated, “Geez, you mean I have to follow that guy?” After the laughs died down, I settled in and gave a passable introduction of myself and business. I say "passable" because I told everyone my name and that I was a sole practitioner with little else. The meeting ran its course and I was soon forgotten about.
As I was leaving this meeting, I kept reminding myself just how important it is to be specific with my message to others. I have struggled with this to some extent, because I can easily obtain resources and assistance from other attorneys when needed. This is truly one of the blessings of working in such collegial legal atmosphere in Central Indiana. As a sole practitioner, you also want to (at least) explore the possibility of accepting a new client for the purposes of survivial. However, general and elongated messages are simply lost on other busy professionals who need something distinct to remember you for future legal services.
I am reminding myself as well as other attorneys that being professional, specific, and memorable with everyone no matter their background is one of the keys to finding new opportunities for yourself and others. In an effort to follow my own advice, I’ll cut my post here and wish everyone an enjoyable and rewarding day!
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