Q: After months of working remotely, I’m feeling isolated, communicating only with colleagues and clients on front-burner work projects. How can I reboot communications with the contacts in my professional network?
A: It’s easier than you think to stay in touch with your professional contacts in today’s work environment — you just need a little tech savvy and some creativity. Follow these tips to jumpstart communications with your network while working from home.
Find a reason to reach out
One of the great things about conferences is that you can bump into people on the fringes, start a conversation about the weather and end up discussing a recent development in the legal field.
Online, you’re less likely to engage in chit-chat with a fellow professional you barely know. One solution is to search the web, find out what your contact has been working on and use that as a “peg” on which to hang an email exchange. “I enjoyed your recent LinkedIn post on current litigation trends” is more likely to grab your contact’s attention than “I just wondered how you’re doing.”
Post, share and reshare content
Social media and online publishing platforms make it easy for you to share your insights with a wide audience, including members of your professional network. Whether you point them to a Twitter thread or a longform essay, invite feedback and see where the conversation leads. If you can, comment on content posted by your contacts. It keeps you on their radar.
Host a virtual meeting
Virtual meeting platforms allow you to have face time with your contacts, offering the potential for richer and more nuanced conversations than email or phone. While Zoom, MS Teams or Slack meetings are helpful to everyone interested in maintaining their network, for people uncomfortable with reaching out to others during an in-person conference, they are an especially welcome alternative.
Join an online meet-up
Although most legal professional conferences have moved online due to the pandemic, some virtual event platforms have networking rooms that allow attendees to chat with each other. Register for virtual events that pique your interest — or that your connections are planning to attend — and engage in conversations there.
Networking in the age of social distancing is a challenge, but it is one shared by everyone. Master it quicker than your peers and it could boost both your self-confidence and your career prospects.
Robert Half Legal is a premier legal staffing service specializing in the placement of attorneys, paralegals, legal administrators and other legal professionals with law firms and corporate legal departments. Based in Menlo Park, Calif., Robert Half Legal has offices in major North American and global markets and offers a full suite of legal staffing and consulting solutions.