How to Work a Room Notes

As you may know, it is sometimes imperative (or at the least, valuable!) to network as a lawyer. For that reason, I recently read up on best practices when networking.

Below are the most useful tips I garnered from reading Susan Roane’s book, How to Work a Room, in both video and text forms:


  • Consider bringing a buddy.
  • Arriving on time minimizes stress from being in a crowd.
  • It’s rude not to respond to an RSVP request.
  • Plan both event activity and follow up.
  • Always bring cards.
  • Read professional journals for conversation topics.
  • Use other people’s stories, and prepare jokes. Don’t complain about things.

During the Event

  • A good self-introduction lasts 7-9 seconds, begins with your name, and establishes what you have in common with other people at an event.
  • Look for people standing alone.
  • Try to behave as a host (meeting people, starting conversations, introducing others, and making sure people’s needs are met) rather than a guest.
  • Try to have a little banter ready.
  • Ask relevant questions, but not too many.
  • Ask groups if they don’t mind if you join them. No one ever says no to this, but don’t do it if people’s backs are to the room.
  • Excuse yourself by saying “Nice to meet you,” followed by a summary of the conversation.
  • Thank the actual host before leaving.

After the Event

  • Send physical thank you/condolence cards, not texts or emails.
  • Consider making a rolodex of contact information.

Everyday (and additional notes)

Use Twitter. Follow people. Add thoughts and links to valuable articles, videos, and information as Tweets, and retweet others.

Susan Roane has a chapter on speaking for an audience too, and one on trade shows.


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