Anyone who has spent any time around me lately knows that I am a very active member of Provisors. I am a zealous “convert”. I only joined Provisors in June, but since that time I have probably been to 30 meetings or “troikas”. I am now on the Executive Committee of the Cambridge I Group (the Recruiting Chair) and I’m chairing the Recruiting Subcommittee of the Diversity Committee.
Provisors has really energized me and had a very positive impact on my business (for now the impact has been mostly indirect but I’m sure that will change over time.) Simply put, Provisors is a great business networking group that is providing me with a terrific opportunity to grow my professional network quickly. It’s like a cult (but in a good way!)
What I love most about the organization is that there is a heavy emphasis on helping other members and on thanking them for their efforts. Being part of the organization really hammers home the message that in order to “get” you need to “give” first.
It is a great training ground for learning how to give and how to ask questions that open up more opportunities to “give” to other members (e.g. a wealth manager told us that if we work with a client who is selling a business or getting divorced, ask our client if they have a financial planner.)
I recently interviewed Jennifer Taddeo for the Counsel to Counsel Podcast. Jenn is a T&E partner at the Boston law firm Conn Kavanaugh and she talks about how to get most out of your Provisors membership. She also has some great advice about networking in general. (Jenn was really the person who convinced me to join.)
I’ve already written several times about Provisors (see here, here and here) and I am recommending it to all of my coaching clients who are looking to build a law practice. What I love about Provisors is that it is a great place to hone your marketing message. There are so many opportunities to get up and introduce yourself and then get feedback on your messaging (Think of me when…) There are a lot of business leads being shared by members and I’ve even heard some great presentations (on everything from time management to recent developments in employment law to the value of assessment tools like the Myers Briggs.)
With a lot of accountants, lawyers, management consultants and other trusted advisors, Provisors also provides me with access to a great network of resources for my clients. I found a realtor for a candidate of mine who was relocating to New Hampshire, several attorneys who were willing to network with law students I couldn’t place, an executive coach for a law firm partner who is moving into a senior management role at his firm, answers to some office technology questions that were bothering me and introductions to executive search firms that don’t recruit in the legal space.
For many professionals and for many lawyers, networking is not a comfortable activity. What Provisors can do is help you build your confidence in getting to know other professionals all in a very supportive and upbeat environment.
I have already gotten some referrals in the short time that I have been involved, but as everyone says, you have to give it at least 1 to 2 years to really expect returns on your investment. During that time, the important thing to do is to get to know like and trust individuals.
It’s human nature that if someone helps you, that makes you want to return the favor. But it is also the right thing to do.
So when you are in networking situations this holiday season, find ways that you can help the people in your network or new professionals you meet. You may not get anything in return right away; but in the long term, that is how you will build your law practice.