Subido por Federico Silva Duarte

Lopez, P Networking. Skills to succeed

Skills to succeed: Networking
01 August 2018
Patricia López Aufranc, a partner at Marval, O'Farrell & Mairal in Argentina, outlines
how to succeed in networking, in the second installment in a mini-series of tips for
aspiring young lawyers.
Networking is the art of developing and maintaining a network of contacts for
mutual benefit.
Social capital is the value that an individual obtains from resources available through
his or her social networks: information, opportunities, orientation, support. In today’s
world, networking is not merely an option but a necessity.
For some, networking may not come easily. Don’t worry, networking is a skill that can
be acquired and improved by adopting certain practices and committing the time. Be
strategic and methodical. The sooner you start, the sooner it will become second nature.
If you feel uncomfortable, find a higher purpose that motivates you. Focus on the
collective benefit of making connections (for example, visibility for your organisation,
helping your clients, supporting colleagues, increasing the presence of women or
Create your personal brand. Your reputation is your most important asset and can
determine your future. Remember there is no second chance to make a good first
Periodically survey your digital presence. Regularly update information and correct
inaccuracies. Make sure your profiles and content are aligned with the image you want
to project. Do not post anything that you would not like the whole world to see.
Remember posts on the internet will always be there.
Build up your success team: sponsors, coaches, role models, friends and allies. Reach
out and find your champions; they are your core network. Be a champion to others.
Create an effective database. The more information you include about your contacts
the more useful the network will be (for example, gender, when a person’s name is not
easily recognisable; name of spouse and children; birthdays; where you met; hobbies or
other interests; and, most importantly, connections to others in your network).
Map your present network. Establish goals. Develop a plan. Keep a record of your
networking actions until it comes naturally. Consider networking part of your daily job
and a cornerstone of your career development. Always have networking on your to do
At the outset, don’t forget to network with people of your generation. They will
grow with you.
Choose your contacts well. An individual may keep solid relationships with about 150
people at most. It is better to be the best connected than the most connected. The quality
of the contacts and how they are used is what matters, not the quantity.
Contacting people is easier than it seems. Staying in touch and developing a
relationship is the true challenge! Periodically review your database to decide whether
you should reconnect with someone to keep the relationship alive.
Regularly reach out to new people, become involved in multidisciplinary teams and a
wide range of activities to expand your network.
Think broadly about what you can offer. Seasoned professionals are comfortable
giving advice, mentorship, sharing information or connecting people. Identifying
valuable contributions may be more difficult at the outset of a career. However, there
are always things to offer if you think outside the box. I remember a young lawyer who
had been a junior tennis champion who made himself known at the senior level by
regularly coaching partners. Another was always “on call” when someone needed
assistance with social media or technological challenges. If nothing else comes to mind,
show gratitude or recognition, particularly in front of others (“X is a great mentor/role
model/has been decisive in my career advancement”). Genuine expressions of gratitude
enhance the other person’s reputation and may be greatly appreciated. Two-way street
relationships are the most meaningful.
During an initial meeting, retain subjects or details that will give you leads to
reconnect and allow you to pick up the conversation. Writing something on the back of
a business card to remind you of the person is always helpful. Capture this information
in your contact database also. It will allow you to add a “personal touch” to your
Have a follow up plan (eg, send an email saying that you enjoyed the encounter, send
an article you promised or data on a book you recommended, suggest to have coffee or
lunch to continue a conversation that came up).
Identify common interests as a means to enlarge your network. Find some common
interest, and barriers disappear. Analyse how your interest and goals align with the
people you meet or want to meet. Those interests and goals can become the grounds to
develop a relationship. A family law lawyer that I knew was entrusted with important
matters by dog walkers he met at the park while walking his dog! Shared interests create
Be present, connect, stay connected. Congratulate people on achievements, send
greetings for birthdays, share interesting articles and notices of events.
Develop a reputation as a “giver” and not as a “taker”. Strive to find opportunities
to help others and to share your experience and knowledge. In the long run, giving
yields returns.
Professional associations, sports, cultural, religious and community activities have
unlimited potential for making contacts. NGOs are excellent places to meet highprofile individuals. Working together in a context where one shares values generally
leads to deep and rewarding relationships. Join, participate, lead. Get involved! If you
are going to have a passive role, don’t bother.
The key to building a network is having diverse sources of contacts. That way you
can access the contacts of your contacts. “Just like me” networks are the least effective,
because those people probably share similar information and have similar views. The
broadest and more diverse networks have much farther reach and are more valuable.
Be a contact broker. Strive to introduce people with common interests. Build
relationships. Exchange information. Identify the contact brokers in your network. Ask
for introductions.
Take advantage of technology. Cyber social networks, emails, and newsletters are
fantastic tools when properly used. Establish a strategy (eg, targets, content, forums).
Stand out, be brief, visual, interesting and original. When appropriate, include pictures,
graphics or short videos. Do not overexpose. Always remember the fine line between
being present and being annoying. However, if you are going to participate, be
Success largely depends on how one establishes relationships and the position one
occupies in one’s relationship groups. It is not only what we know but who we know!
Network effectively both inside the organisation for which you work (ie, acquire
visibility, become the person to go to, obtain good assignments, promotions) and
outside (eg, develop a reputation as an expert, bring business, etc).
Join existing networks and/or create your own. Connect disparate groups of people.
Stimulate collaboration and reciprocal trust.
Periodically assess your network to determine whether it is narrow or broad and
whether it should be redirected to align better with your goals. This may entail reducing
or increasing your participation depending on your goals and suitability.
Add value, have credibility, exceed expectations, remember to add a “personal
Do not lose focus. Do not bite off more than you can chew. Relationships take time and
must be nurtured over time. Each has its own rhythm. Don’t be impatient. Be grateful
and thankful. Don’t expect immediate returns. Networking is a long-term commitment.
My golden rule of networking is this: Networking is about giving. Receiving is a
secondary benefit.
I wish you great success!