Has everyone got their “fa la la” on yet?

While the holidays are often a mad rush for all of us, it seems that this year especially, everyone is behind with wrapping up their end of the year duties (and wrapping up their gifts), while we try to figure out shortcuts for how to manage to get everything done before family and friends descend on us (or you head out the door yourself). In among all of the holiday madness are your professional pressures, which, of course, take priority.

So instead of adding to the pressure of asking you to throw some crazy business development, relationship building activities into your holiday mix, let’s look at a few easy and mostly quick ways you can sprinkle some engagement into your final weeks of 2018, and set yourself up for early success in the new year. 
Continue Reading 7 Ways to Sprinkle Business Development, instead of Bah Humbug, Into the End of December

As you’re reading this post, I want you to think about whether you’d consider yourself to be a fairly good networker and business developer. What does “networking” mean to you? Do you think of it as a complete waste of time? If the answer to that last question is yes, keep reading, and I hope you’ll change your mind.

A quick story – if Steve Jobs had never met Steve Wozniak, the Apple I would not have been invented in 1976. A year later, this machine became the Apple II, the bestselling computer of all time. Steve Jobs had the vision, the ideas, but it was Wozniak who knew how to assemble teams. Their change meeting results in a multimillion dollar business. It is often the power of a chance meeting that sparks a revolution.

Sure, that sounds like a one-off, something that doesn’t apply in the legal industry. But it happens every day, and even in legal. How do busy lawyers get to these revolutionary opportunities? It’s about the difference between ordinary networking and power networking. 
Continue Reading Lawyers: Put the Kibosh on Random Acts of Business Development TODAY

In addition to understanding the area of the law that you’ll specialize in, there are a variety of “soft skills” that will be essential to navigating the practice of law successfully. Your professional skills may need to be further expanded over the coming years as the industry itself changes and stretches, but for now, there are a few tried and true ones you can rely on that will serve you well regardless of where you end up practicing.

A law student recently asked his connections on LinkedIn to rank the following five skills in order of importance – networking, presentation skills, business writing, communication, and time management. I’ve been exploring these topics for law students over on the ABA Law Student blog, Before the Bar, but they’re equally valuable for more experienced lawyers as well. So let’s take a look at how we can adapt these tips for practicing lawyers.
Continue Reading 5 Essential Networking Tips for Lawyers

“This person doesn’t benefit me.” 

“I’m not getting any business.” 

Have you ever said, or thought, either of these things about a networking event or while involved in a business organization? It’s not the first time I’ve heard them, which is why they merit a mention here.

When you say these things out loud or to yourself, it’s likely that your first reaction is that you’re in the wrong place, or the organization is faulty. But consider for just a moment that maybe the networking barrier in these scenarios is actually you. 
Continue Reading Overcoming one of the Biggest Barriers in Networking

“Authenticity” has become a dirty word.

It’s right up there with some of the other most hated buzzwords and phrases – “at the end of the day,” “thinking outside of the box,” “synergy,” “value add,” “circle back,” “bandwidth.”

Are you cringing yet?

But even though the word “authenticity” might make your skin crawl, it’s actually a pretty important concept – it’s a buzzword for a reason.

For the purposes of this post, let’s look at a definition for “authenticity.” Merriam-Webster says it means:

: real or genuine : not copied or false

: true and accurate

: made to be or look just like an original”

Continue Reading “Authenticity” Might be Cliche, but it’s Essential to Building Client Relationships

The idea that you would be so busy, that you’d send your assistant or an associate in your place to a client meeting, wearing a mask of your face and pretending to be you, is ludicrous, right?

But we build relationships online via proxy all the time. And not just with potential clients, but with current ones.

“That sounds crazy!” I can hear you saying. But does it? Are any of these scenarios familiar? 
Continue Reading Who’s Building Your Client Relationships Today?

It’s no secret that attending an industry event can lead to business opportunities. When you choose the right one, the networking alone provides the return on your investment.

But we’re often so eager for the actual attendance to equal business that we forget that as with any business development opportunity, it’s not one-and-done. In the dating game, while it might be possible for you to meet someone and marry them the same night, and find lasting happiness, it’s much more likely that you spend time getting to know each other before making a commitment. Your business relationships are much the same.

How can you translate those conference attendances into business opportunities? There are as many articles and blog posts on this as there are ways to do it, but today, I’m offering up three tips to use after your next event to move the needle. 
Continue Reading 3 Tips to Translate a Conference Attendance into Business Opportunities

When I did a search back on Zen to see what else we’ve discussed about networking, the results revealed that it’s…a lot. We’ve covered everything from networking for introverts, to conference networking, to social networking, to networking for people who hate networking, and more.

So why do we keep talking about it, over and over again?

Two reasons really:

  1. Networking is never really over.
  2. It bears repeating.

Continue Reading Ugh…Why Keep Talking About Networking?

Today marks the start of International Networking Week, and as you can imagine, that’s something we at the International Lawyers Network are pretty excited and passionate about. We’ve sent out a challenge to our membership to increase their own networks by reaching out to someone that they don’t know well to deepen that relationship, and over the course of this week, I’ll be sharing some best practices for networking with you. I also invite you to share your own networking tips here for a chance to be featured on the blog!

In today’s post, I want to look at five tips that you can use right away to build relationships. Often, we can think of networking and relationship building as an arduous task, but really, it’s a series of smaller actions that we take that help weave the fabric of those stronger relationships. So whether you’ve got five minutes or an hour, you can strengthen your network today. 
Continue Reading 5 Tips to Build Relationships TODAY

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be attending CLOC’s first EMEA Institute in London, which has me revisiting some best practices on building relationships and networking. When I attended my first CLOC conference in April, I found an exceptionally passionate and enthusiastic group of legal professionals that straddled the legal ecosphere. Bearing that in mind, it’s unlikely that we’ll see anyone ducking out early or skipping conference functions, because everyone is invested in being there, driving change, and working together.

But what about in other areas where we have the opportunity to meet new people and develop the relationships that can lead to new business? It’s entirely possible that even with the best of intentions, we can end up with networking fatigue. With that in mind, I’m revisiting an old post on the importance of showing up in order to build relationships.

Sometimes, when attending a conference, it’s tempting (and often reasonable) to combine other business with the business of the conference – maybe you have clients or friends in the same city, and it doesn’t seem like a big deal to miss an afternoon or a meal at the conference. You may even be worried that the social functions of the conference are more of a boondoggle, and the “value” is only found in the educational sessions. So what are you missing out on if you skip group outings or meals? 
Continue Reading To Build Relationships, You Have to Show Up