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Networking tip 4: Find common interests

We are all constantly looking for connections and common interests. When we do find them, we create associations, camaraderie, and friendships—and, of course, we expand our personal network.

Create a Bond

Finding things in common can be so simple! Sometimes even one shared experience will do. (“Hang on. Weren’t you at that appalling conference in Toronto where . . .?”) In fact, sometimes a single incident can create a lasting bond. I have a former client, Owen, with whom I negotiated a deal in meetings that went on until dawn. When I run into him today, he always teasingly introduces me as the “the lady lawyer with whom he once spent the night.” By telling that story, Owen makes me feel more like a friend with a shared past than a legal advisor! 

Use Your Family

I was single through a good part of my legal career, and I always felt excluded when my colleagues turned business development activities into family occasions. Perhaps what I really felt was envy, as I watched my partners cultivate relationships with their clients through common family interests. I truly believe that merging personal lives with business relationships forges deeper connections.

Use Your Interests

While my male colleagues were using their families (and sporting events) to generate camaraderie with clients, I looked for and found my own angle—fashion. For years I had taunted my partners by saying that if they could take their clients to rugby and football matches, I might just take mine to London Fashion Week . . . and then one day I thought, “Well, why not?”—so I did! Over time this became a unique networking event that conveniently meshed with my personal interest in fashion. And while football and beer-minded clients naturally outnumber fashionistas, I did find plenty of like-minded people. Membership in my network was that much more exclusive—and tightly knit! 

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