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So You’re Not Very Good at Networking, Huh?

Cake

I just left a meeting with a lawyer. We had coffee in a very nice coffee/cake place he selected. This guy hates marketing and networking—he says he isn’t very good at it—and he doesn’t do much with meeting referral sources and building his network.

He told me three times that he isn’t very good at networking.

Let me tell you how we came to meet for coffee:

I don’t know this guy; at least, I’d never met him until today. He’s a reader of this site.

He knew I was in town because of something I said in one of my articles.

He emailed me and asked about meeting up. I wrote back, told him I’d be in touch, and promptly forgot about his invitation.

A few days later, his assistant emailed me and invited me again. We went back and forth via email and scheduled a time to meet at his office.

I showed up at his place on time. He greeted me at the door, looked me in the eye, smiled, and shook my hand.

Then he showed me his office—an impressive, beautiful space in a very trendy, restored building—and stopped to show me his bike when I commented on it. I loved the bike, and he is clearly passionate about cycling. We spent seven or eight minutes talking about cycling before the tour continued.

He then walked me through the rest of the space, showing me how he’d done cool things to make life better for his clients. He has a great tech setup and has done some spectacular things to take advantage of the design of the building. After 15 minutes standing in the office, I could feel his passion for his work and his hobby.

We walked two blocks to the coffee/cake shop. He was immediately greeted by the owner and the staff, who got us hooked up with some drinks. One of his friends came through the shop and said hello.

The conversation went by at a million miles an hour as we discussed our practices, family law, marketing, our families, and more on cycling. He asked me a ton of questions, and he gave me his biography and told me some great stories about the setbacks he’d suffered and the progress he’d made. He asked for advice and listened when I offered to help.

It was a fascinating two hours, and I left feeling good about the meeting and looking forward to seeing him again sometime.

Once I was back in front of my computer, working on this post, my email notifier flashed, and I had a message from Facebook. This guy had added me as a friend, and I accepted.

Since the Facebook invite came, I’ve received an email from him thanking me for getting together.

This guy who says he isn’t very good at networking is nuts—he’s totally insane—he might be the best networker I’ve ever met.

Don’t do what I tell you; ignore me. Do what this “not very good at networking” guy is doing. He’s the one to follow.

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  • Kimberly Graham

    I suspect many of us downplay our strengths or don’t recognize them. I say that about myself, too. Maybe because I’m pretty introverted and tend to feel shy in groups. But I always feel good about meeting up with new people, especially when I decide to just be myself and tell the nerves to shut up and thanks for sharing. Thanks for the great reminder that maybe we’re better at networking than we give ourselves credit for!

Lee Rosen

Lee Rosen has practiced family law for more than twenty years. With four offices, Rosen Law Firm serves Raleigh, Charlotte, Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Rosen served as the Law Practice Management Editor of the ABA Family Advocate for more than a decade and received the ABA James Keane Award for excellence in eLawyering. He served as Chair of the Law Practice Management Section of the North Carolina Bar Association, is a frequent speaker and is often sought out by the media as a source of family law insight and commentary.