How to Get on the Board of Directors

board of directorsWhen I train lawyers in business development, I always recommend they join an organization of clients and get on the the board of directors.  The idea is that if there are 300 members, you can shake hands with all of them, or simply get on the board of directors and everyone will know you. Trade associations are excellent sources of new business.

For the third or fourth time, I just got on the Board of a national organization. I use the same method every time because it always works.

First, I got involved with the Chicago chapter. The president wanted a website so I put up the chapter website and organized two events. I also distribute the chapter e-newsletter, at the president's request.  Without any lobbying on my part at all, he nominated me for the Board of Directors of the national organization.  Today I was accepted, and I'm just thrilled.

Now I'll have a chance to rub elbows with the people who run the organization, and hope to become a known quantity nationally.  I've already offered the executive director in New York to help with a new e-newsletter and I'm getting a quote from a web developer for a fellow board member in Portland, OR.

You can copy this proven method and do it yourself.  Simply:

  • Join one organization composed of your ideal clients.  Don't join two, three or more, because you will end up surfing the meetings and not make an impression on anyone.
  • Go up to the president and tell him you're new and would like to get active.  Ask the president if there is some nagging task or bothersome chore he'd like taken care of.  Association presidents always need help with something.  Any they'll be dying to find volunteers to help you.
  • Do the task and there is only one way the president can reward you: with an appointment to the Board, to Program Director or Newsletter Editor, or head of a committee.  The idea is for you to get active in a visible way.  Your goal is not to warm a chair and listen to the speaker; your goal is to be known by everyone in the organization.
  • Then start building relationships that can lead to new business and be helpful to anyone who asks.

Happy hunting!