The Harvard Business Review article that inspired the article recommends ‘mapping’ your network – listing your contacts in the first column, who introduced you to that contact in the second column, and the people you introduced that contact to in the third column. If the second column contains too many instances where you met the contact yourself, chances are you may be using the self-similarity principle to build your network. If another name appears frequently in the second column, that person may be a ‘superconnector.’
A superconnector is someone who readily shares their diverse contacts. Paying attention to who your superconnectors are and cultivating those relationships is an important part of building your network. It makes sense to think about how you met your superconnectors, too – what kinds of activities bring you into contact with superconnectors? The article authors suggest looking for superconnectors who may not be in a position of formal authority, but are still good connectors. This is good advice, since those who are in positions of formal authority (whether good connectors or not) are often difficult to get to because everyone else is seeking them out and trying to get into their good graces. Other superconnectors may help diversify your network.
Reviewing the third column of your ‘network map’ helps you see what kind of connector you are, and what activities lead you to make connections between your own contacts.
On a related note, even if you decide that sitting down and ‘mapping’ your entire network isn’t for you, every lawyer should keep track of their contacts somehow. If this information is stored electronically, it is particularly easy to make a note of where, how, and when you met the contact, and/or who introduced you to the contact. You should, as a matter of routine, keep this kind of information about all of your clients. It always makes sense to know where your business is coming from, so that you can continue to cultivate those referral sources, and find similar ones.
Finally, don’t forget to thank your referral sources, whether they are clients, former clients, attorneys or other contacts, regardless of whether you are hired. A simple ‘thank you’ can go a very long way toward continuing the relationship.
If you liked these articles, subscribe to my e-newsletter, and you’ll receive new articles in your in-box. The articles in the newsletter are not available to the public – the only way to see those articles is to receive the newsletter.
Allison C. Shields
Legal Ease Consulting, Inc
Creating Productive, Profitable and Enjoyable Law Practices