But today, I'm not going to tell you what to do. I'm still learning, so I'm not quite sure what to do myself. But I definitely know one thing NOT to do: DON'T Be an Introvert.
Weird, I know. But hear me out.
People are so surprised to hear me say this, but I am not a naturally social person. There is a big difference between being able to speak publicly, which I do often, and being able to make small talk with relative strangers. In the latter situation, I'm just ... awkward. Picture Mary Katherine Gallagher. But without the smelly armpits. (I swear.)
Seriously. There aren't not many excuses I haven't used to get out of social events. And business networking events? Those are the WORST. Let's call a spade a spade - I suck at relationships.
But this is the WRONG kind of thinking! When I look around at the rainmakers I know, they have one thing in common: they are social people. They have relationships with other people!
Because I am not one of those people, it would be so easy for me to hang this whole thing up, declare that introverts cannot develop business, and continue to be a worker bee for the rest of my life. That would be the "safe" approach. But it isn't going to help me achieve my goals.
And so I have been forcing myself out of my comfort zone by engaging with as many people as possible in any way possible.
I am - for the first time - utilizing my firm's season tickets (and by utilizing, I mean inviting people to go with me, not by giving them away as I would have done before).
I am going out to lunch. All.the.time.
I am reaching out to lawyers with whom I've done cases just to remind them of who I am.
Every interaction is a business opportunity. Parents at my kids' sports games. People at church. Old law school buddies. These people are all potential clients or referral sources.
What I stepped back and viewed the many people I know as a collective group, I realized the potential that's there with people I already know.
It is impossible to overstate what a huge step this is for me.
No, I'm not out meeting a lot of new people yet. But that's not really the point. New people aren't really the best people to give me business. Clients are often friends first. They go see a professional who they know, trust, and like.
So that's been the first step of my business development plan. Stop being an introvert. Seize social opportunities that sound remotely fun. Actually talk to others.
People out in the world do this everyday. I am now one of those people! And don't tell anyone, but ...
... I am kind of enjoying it!
~ Liza Favaro
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