If you don’t like networking, do this


When I was fresh out of law school, I tried networking because I thought I should meet new people, acquire some new skills, and (I hoped) bring in some business. 

I hated it. 

Going out at night and talking to strangers, playing the “tell me about yourself” game, was (for me) unpleasant in the extreme. I did meet people and eventually signed up.a few clients (most of whom were broke), but it was a good experience, primarily because it forced me to find other ways to bring in business. 

If you’re brand new, do it and find out for yourself. If you’re not knew and you don’t like networking, or aren’t good at it, stop doing it. Why punish yourself?

There’s something easier (and more fruitful) you can do.  

Instead of trying to meet new people, simply re-connect with people you already know. Not your regular contacts—people who used to be regular contacts that you’ve lost touch with.

No doubt you know many people you haven’t spoken to in a while. Make a list. Clients, prospects, business contacts of all types. It’s probably a long list. These are people who once hired you, referred you, or introduced you to others, or were at least open to doing these things. 

They might be open to doing them now. 

They are certainly more likely to do that than strangers you meet at a networking event. Because they know you and remember you. You don’t have to play the “tell me about yourself” game. Just contact them, say hello, and see what they’re doing. 

Your so-called “weak” or “dormant” ties represent a big opportunity to bring in business and opportunities because you have “history”. When you connect with them, mention something you recall about them, their case, their business, or a mutual contact. Or thank them for how they helped you (or your clients) in the past and how you appreciate their help and friendship.  

And then, find out what you can do to help them. 

Traditional networking ends to be about “chasing” people and opportunities. Re-connecting with people from your past is about sharing that past with people from it.

It’s easier to re-kindle a fire that has died down than to start one with dry wood.