Business can come from any and everywhere. Everyone you meet could be a potential client, referral source, job lead or just someone who can help you at some point. This is why I always say to be kind and helpful to everyone.
A great example of a place where you can meet potential business connections while taking care of yourself is at the gym or any group fitness class.
I’ve spoken to many lawyers and other business professionals who have said they’ve met valuable contacts through group fitness or the people they’ve gotten to know at their local gym.
I personally belong to Flywheel, which is a spin community of mostly dedicated and hardworking type-A personalities. Many of us have become close by taking the same classes each week and we’ve formed a strong community of our own. We push and support each other, and close relationships have evolved. One of my fellow riders works at a hedge fund, several of them are lawyers at other firms, a few are in-house lawyers, there are some top doctors, another is a top HR executive at a bank – you get my drift. These are individuals with impressive backgrounds, and you should try to get to know them on a personal and professional level because relationship building is good in general and you may be able to help each other down the line.
While you never want to sell yourself, give someone your elevator pitch or a folder with materials (never!), it is very likely that a time will come when someone with whom you work out will ask you what you do professionally.
This is the perfect opportunity to speak about the kind of work you do in descriptive terms without being boastful. So for example, saying that you are a lawyer in New York City is not nearly as powerful if you were to say “I am a patent, copyright and trademark lawyer who represents entrepreneurs to protect and maximize their intellectual property.”
You never know when they may need a lawyer like you or if they know of someone who does. Because trust, relationships and likability are among the most important factors cited by in-house counsel when choosing outside counsel, it’s so important to build strong connections everywhere. Plus working out is good for you and releases feel-good hormones.
So the next time you’re at the gym, don’t just run in and out of your class – take the time to strike up a conversation with your fellow athletes – they may just wind up becoming good friends and valuable professional connections. If you think of every activity – both personally and professionally as an opportunity to meet new, interesting people and you will have a robust network in no time.