September 01, 2014

For the Disorganized Networker: Get Your $#!@ Together

T. Greg Doucette

“Who. What. When. Where. How,” the judge intoned, counting each finger. I just stood there in the well of the courtroom. “Who! What! When! Where! How!” he repeated, louder. “I’m cutting off this disaster, counselor. Go home and get your $#!@ together.”

This ended my first attempt at direct examination, at the initial practice of our 2L trial team. It couldn’t have gone much worse; what litigators often describe as a “conversation with the witness” had been anything but.

Luckily for my future clients, I “got my $#!@ together”: those five words are seared into my brain any time I need to have a “conversation”—and not just in a courtroom.

Some people dislike networking, especially those of us who are naturally shy. Sure there are different ways to network that cater to our different quirks, but what if this isn’t one of those times?

If that time comes, think of it as a direct examination—a “conversation” with a friendly witness. “Who are you? What brought you here? Where do you work? How long have you been there?” Actively listen to the response. Ask a follow-up. Then another. Again and again.

Before you know it, you’ll be in mid-conversation, and after a couple of times, you’ll be networking like a pro.

T. Greg Doucette

T. Greg Doucette is the managing attorney of The Law Offices of T. Greg Doucette PLLC, located in Durham, North Carolina. A litigation-centric law firm, T. Greg focuses on matters affecting small businesses including contract disputes, non-disclosure and non-compete agreements, intellectual property protection, and related issues.