An associate asked:
Everyone tells you to network. Are there any new strategies for networking that actually work and don’t make you feel like a loser always trying to sell yourself?
I don’t think there are any new strategies. I think the old ones work. I have never enjoyed going to what would be described as "networking" events because the perception of every one there is trying to handout as many business cards as possible and sell themselves. I remember speaking at a construction law conference several years ago. After I spoke I was surrounded by people. None of them were clients or potential clients. Instead they were all consultants trying to convince me to hire them as experts to help on two big cases they knew I was handling.
I think the strategy for networking is to focus on building relationships rather than to focus on getting business. You build relationships by being interested in the people you meet and engaging them and listening. You want to build trust, rapport and find common interests. I remember something I read many years ago. It was: "It is far more important to be ‘interested’ than it is to be ‘interesting.’"