The hot topic on everyone’s mind at the moment (unless you’re in the US and then it’s pretty evenly split between politics and germs). I almost hate to join the fray and discuss it, but with so many events being cancelled, and travel restrictions being enacted, I wanted to add some suggestions for how to continue networking during this time, so that you don’t lose momentum on your relationship building efforts.

For some of us, travel and events still move forward. Travel guidance varies – it depends on your destination and the size of the gathering. Common sense and good hygiene are essential, and for our group, we’ll be instituting what we’re fondly referring to as “Operation Fist Bump” at our upcoming Annual Conference (which may be further downgraded to “Operation Wave Hello.”
Continue Reading Lawyers: Networking During the Coronavirus Outbreak

We’ve been full of networking tips here at Zen lately with the ILN’s European Regional Meeting happening last week. It’s only fitting that I sum that up with some post-conference networking suggestions on this week’s Two for Tuesdays!

Tip One: Connect & Share

Any time you leave a conference, whether it’s an ILN conference or not, it’s hard to keep the momentum going as you face a mountain of work and personal responsibilities. It seems to get more and more difficult to step away from the office these days – I know I’m always trying to prepare to leave and spending time catching up when I return, even when I’m checking in and working the entire time I’m away!

But forgetting to do a few simple things after a conference can really take away from all of the headway you’ve made in networking. So add in these few things to your to-do list today (force yourself to do one each day, rather than trying to do them all at once!) and it will make a big difference in your efforts. Continue Reading Two for Tuesdays: Post-Conference Networking

It’s Monday, so that means that the 2014 ILN European Regional Meeting is officially in the books. I want to offer a special thanks to our hosts at Okland & Co DA, and especially their managing partner, Tom Carsten Troberg.

As I was flying home yesterday, I had the opportunity to ruminate on the conference, and the takeaways I gained from the various presentations and social functions, and I wanted to share those with you today!

  • There is really no substitute for face-to-face relationship building: As you know, I love social media, and think of it as a great bridge for keeping connections going in between face-to-face interactions.

    But there’s no substitute for seeing your connections from around the world in person, talking about personal and professional things, laughing together, and experiencing a new city together. Not only do you get to know each other better (and get a richer understanding of the challenges and cultural differences facing your colleagues in other cities), but you leave with a warm feeling that reminds you to think of them first when making referrals or getting ready to pitch a client. So never think that your online or phone efforts will ever compare to time spent in each other’s company.

    Shared experiences will always win the day – particularly when those experiences involve Aquavit tastings and a mutual fear of lutefisk.

Continue Reading Takeaways from the 2014 ILN European Regional Meeting

It’s time for another Two for Tuesdays here in muggy New Jersey, and what better topic to discuss than conference follow up? We just wrapped up the ILN’s 26th Annual Meeting in Chicago, which was a whirlwind of business sessions and social activities designed to facilitate relationships. And we managed to squeeze a little fun in there too! 

As with any conference, it can be easy to return to your office and in the chaos of catching up with work and getting back into your regular schedule, forget everything you learned at the conference. So especially for my ILN attorneys this week, I bring you two tips for conference follow up.

Tip One: Connect on LinkedIn

When you attend a conference, you either receive a pile of business cards, or an attendee list to draw from. As you get back to your office, take a look at the list or the cards – hopefully you made note of who you met, and a distinguishing characteristic of that person, but if you didn’t, take a couple of minutes to jot it down.

Then, head over to LinkedIn. Search for the people you talked to on LinkedIn, and send them an invitation to connect. Continue Reading Two for Tuesdays: Conference Follow Up

For today’s Two for Tuesdays, I want to spend some time talking about Facebook. I can hear many of you rolling your eyes, either because we’re talking social media, or because we’re talking Facebook, or both. 

But, as I say regularly, social media is nothing more than a set of tools for building relationships – just as client lunches, cocktail receptions, and conferences are. If you use these tools to connect with people, and share yourself in the same way as you would in person (and, of course, combine the use of these tools with meeting in person), they can be extraordinarily valuable. 

So why Facebook? There’s a couple of reasons – the first is that likely most of you reading this are already on LinkedIn, which I consider to be the most professional of the social media tools. I think that will always remain the case (unless another, unique platform comes along), and I find LinkedIn to be incredibly valuable. Continue Reading Two for Tuesdays: Facebook

Today, I’m bringing you another recap from LMA’s 2014 Annual Conference, from an excellent session I attended on the first morning, called "Playing the Relationship Game in Today’s Connected World." 

Kalev Peekna (@kpeekna) and John Simpson (@onenorth) of One North Interactive ran a great interactive session. According to the conference materials: 

For relationship-based businesses like law firms, the connections that firms make with their clients – and the connections these clients have with each other – have a profound effect on the amount of ongoing business and new opportunities they’ll win. Thanks to the ever-connected world we live in, it is now essential that firms align their digital marketing and business development efforts along what we like to call The Relationship Cycle."

In this session, we’ll provide examples of how businesses are using interactive marketing to reach their clients at every point in the decision-making experience, establish trust and create advocates that help drive new business opportunities with current and prospective clients. As this is The Relationship Game, a handful of contestants from the audience will participate game-show style to help us identify key interactive trends, reveal best practices for building digital relationships and uncover key findings from our latest General Counsel Survey." 

Continue Reading Playing the Relationship Game with One North Interactive

I’ve done a number of posts here recently on best practices for networking and relationship-building at conferences, and you may remember that I’ve said, more than once, how important it is to avoid your room at all costs. 

But there’s a counter-point to that which I’ve been thinking about a lot as we have our ILN Annual Meeting on the horizon, and that is – DON’T SKIP ANYTHING.

Sometimes, when attending a conference, it’s very tempting (and often reasonable) to combine other business with the business of the conference – you may have clients in the same city, or friends that you rarely get to see, or a spouse who is with you, but not joining in on the conference, and you feel that taking an afternoon (or two) or a meal (or two) away from the conference won’t be such a big deal. 

You may think that because a conference is only a few business sessions combined with some social activities (as our conferences are), that the social activities are just the way you’re rewarded for attending the conference. You may even think that because you’ve been to a city before, and done some of the same things, that you don’t need to go on those trips, because you won’t be missing anything. Continue Reading Best Practices in Effective Conference Networking: Don’t Skip Anything

Ask anyone what they thought the most memorable session of the recent LMA conference was, and I’m sure they’ll tell you, "Kat Cole’s keynote."

Kat (@KatColeATL) is the President of Cinnabon, Inc., and although more than one person was heard to ask, "what do cinnamon buns have to do with lawyers?" (only before the session, not after!) we all learned lesson after valuable lesson during her speech. 

If you’re still not sure what Kat’s words had to do with legal marketing, take a look at my comments after last year’s Zappos session here and here. And read on. Also, take a look at Chelsie Givan’s recap of the session

Before I dive into the session itself, let’s talk a little bit about Kat. 

Kat Cole is the president of Cinnabon, Inc. where [she] is accountable for leading, evolving and building the team and multi-channel brand. Ms. Cole is also a member of the leadership team within Cinnabon’s parent company, FOCUS Brands Inc…Prior to her role with FOCUS Brands at Cinnabon Inc., Ms. Cole was Vice President of Training and Development for Hooters of America, Inc."

Continue Reading Cinnamon Buns & Leadership – Lessons for Legal Marketers & Lawyers

Today’s Two for Tuesdays is going to address a problem I’ve seen fairly consistently over the last decade in legal – a failure to respond to emails. It’s a rather HUGE pet peeve of mine, and I want to talk today about why it’s important, as well as another tip for managing your professional relationships. 

Tip One: Answer. Your. Emails. 

I know attorneys are busy. I know that their time, literally, is money. So I can be forgiving of the attorneys who may not read and answer all of the emails that I send them.


It boggles my mind when someone emails an attorney to say that they want to refer work to them, and the attorney doesn’t answer. 

If someone sent me an (legitimate) email that basically says, "hey, I want to pay you money," I would answer it (Nigerian princes notwithstanding).Continue Reading Two for Tuesdays: Best Practices for Professional Relationships

Regular readers of my blog may be shocked when they read the title of this post – am I really suggesting that you should make relationship-building all about you? 

Yes and no. 

For the purposes of this post, let’s separate out the "you" and "them" of relationship-building. When you’re building relationships, the content has to be all about the other person: 

  • You let the other person do most of the talking, and you do most of the listening. 
  • You ask pointed questions about what is of interest to them. 
  • The content you share online and off is directed at what is most useful to your audience. 
  • You’re sharing some of your own content, but mostly others’, because that’s what’s most useful to those you want to connect with. 
  • You’re constantly revising your efforts to make sure they continue to be in line with what your audience/targets needs and wants. 

Continue Reading Relationship-Building: It’s All About You