I’ve been preparing for (and am now away for) our 2011 Regional Meeting of the Americas here in Newport Beach.  I’ll be writing more on that soon, but while I’m otherwise engaged, I wanted to share with you an email that I got this morning from my friend and Rainmaking expert, Jaimie Field of Marketing

Another one of LinkedIn’s features is their "Answers" section.  This is a place where you can share business knowledge with others on LinkedIn – you can ask your question to get fast, accurate answers from your network and other experts, showcase your knowledge by answering questions, and stay up on the latest information in your industry.

I’ll point out a caution here – One of our attorneys mentioned to me yesterday with respect to recommendations that attorneys need to be careful of the rules about endorsements within their respective jurisdictions.  This is similarly the case for answering questions on LinkedIn.

I liken answering questions on LinkedIn to answering questions after a panel discussion or at a cocktail party.  Most questions you can answer in an academic way, that makes it clear you’re not creating an attorney-client relationship.  Other questions cross into a grey area, so you need to make it clear that you’re not offering advice.

With LinkedIn questions, since it’s optional, you don’t have to answer questions that you think enter into that grey area, or you can suggest to the person asking that they retain counsel.  So let’s go into this discussion of Answers bearing in mind this caution. 


Continue Reading LinkedIn Tutorials – Answers

Yesterday, we talked about how to get involved with groups.  The only thing left for us to do with groups is to create our own! 

You might not be sure if you want to, but perhaps you want to re-think that.  What if you want to start a group for those interested in legal issues in the construction industry in New Jersey? Check first to make sure there isn’t a group out there like that already, but then start your own – guess who’s going to join a group like that? 

That’s right, potential clients.

And you don’t want to be using your group to just promote yourself, but offer items of value to those people, and they’ll come to see you as the go-to resource for information that they need.  And THAT’S when they’ll start to think that you’d make a good attorney for them.  Plus, if you’re getting access through your group to the decision makers that you want to be meeting at potential clients’ companies, use the platform to send out invitations to an event – host a cocktail party for the group, get together at a local bar for some beer, invite them to a presentation you’ll be doing on a topic that’s of use to them. Take the relationships OFFLINE to cement them. The possibilities here are endless. 


Continue Reading LinkedIn Tutorials – Creating Your Own Groups

With our Annual Meeting coming up in just a few short weeks, I wanted to dedicate this week’s "Ask Friday" to the question of "how can I make the most out of attending a conference?"  You might think that just showing up and attending the events is enough, but with a little bit of strategy, your pre, during and post conference activities can really make a difference in your experience.

Pre-Conference

Before heading to the conference, take a few minutes to look over the agenda and the attendee list (if it’s available).  The agenda can give you an idea of what topics will be discussed and where you can contribute – when you contribute to a discussion (especially in a conference like ours where the main purpose is to develop relationships), it can help people to identify you with a certain area of expertise, and make you a thought leader who is sought out for later conversations.  It also makes you easier to remember.

Review the attendee list and identify who you’d like to build relationships with.  This can seem a bit "icky," but you know where your clients are doing business, so it’s a good idea to connect with possible referral partners so that you start to build that level of trust necessary for referring work.  You may even see someone on the list that seems to have a cool job, or a unique value proposition – meet these people just to expand your horizons if nothing else.  When we stretch our comfort zones, that’s when we really learn and grow.


Continue Reading Ask Friday! Conference Attendance Edition

Last week, the ILN hosted our 2010 Regional Meeting of the Americas in Houston, Texas.  I’ll be putting up some posts this week re-capping some of the sessions, but I thought I’d start today with my recommendations for what to do when you get home from a conference.

At our meetings, although the business sessions

I like to think that I have a good sense of humor and believe that there is room for friendliness in a professional relationship.  But I’ll admit to being surprised, and not in a good way, when after sending a thank you email to an events planner I’m working with, I got this response: "Always at your service, mylady[sic]."  I’ve only been conversing with this person for a couple of months, and we certainly are not at that level of friendliness (although, as a friend of mine pointed out, a comment like this really only would have been appropriate had I signed off on my email "Until the morrow, my lord."). 

But all joking aside, most of my Facebook friends agreed that this crossed the line.  It inspired Christine Pilch‘s post "Avoiding inappropriateness to safeguard your brand," where she makes this important point (see her full post for the second example): 

"Both of the above examples were likely innocent mistakes, however they illustrate how easy it is to damage your reputation by simply crossing a line. Your reputation is very closely intertwined with your brand, which is a reflection of your constituency’s perception of you. To illustrate my point, consider how BP’s reputation over the past 3-months has affected their brand.

Your brand is critical, so be careful to avoid any inappropriateness that could potentially damage it. Resist the temptation to be cute because it might not be perceived that way on the other end."


Continue Reading Uh Oh: My Email Was Misinterpreted. What Now?