relationship development

For better or worse, we’re all uber-connected these days, between our desktops and our smart phones and our tablets. While many of us can and do (and probably should) take technological time outs for holidays and weekends and evenings, responsiveness is a key factor in keeping clients, potential clients, and yes, even referral sources happy when reaching out about business. And yet, it is STILL one of the most overlooked (and easiest to fix) complaints that I hear about relationship building.

It’s a rather HUGE pet peeve of mine when people don’t take the time to respond to emails, and I know I’m not alone. Let’s talk about the message that it sends, and why it’s an easy fix.

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

However. 
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Among my most popular posts last year were those dedicated to talking about LinkedIn, which tells me that it continues to be the tool that resonates most in the legal industry. I know that it’s in part because it’s become such a robust and useful platform, but I also suspect that it’s in part because some of us are still hoping that there’s a silver bullet out there when it comes to networking and relationship building. I hate to tell you – there isn’t. Even when you’re using social media, which can supersize your efforts, you still need to have goals, develop a plan, and invest time and effort in order for it to pay off for you. 
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Are we feeling that holiday spirit yet??

No matter what you celebrate, or don’t celebrate, this time of year feels like a CRUNCH. We’re all rushing around, trying to finish end of the year projects, and planning for next year is already underway. You probably have seen a lot of “end of the year” posts already, and I’m adding this one to the mix.

As you’re rushing around, take a few minutes to read this post from several years ago on The Bloggess – I promise, it will make you feel good, and remind you what this season is all about.


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There are only a few weeks left in the year, and although conferences are winding down, you may be planning your 2020 calendar already (or getting in a few last networking opportunities!). Even when you’re an old hand at attending events, we can always use a refresher on tips for attending events and how to make the most of the networking opportunities they present. Here are some quick tips for making the most out of your attendance! 
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It’s easy to think that the hard part of networking is the event itself, and if we can navigate that successfully, we’ve done our jobs well and the work will come in. But a big part of successful relationship development is continuity, and that means following up AFTER an event to ensure that you don’t drop off the other person’s radar. Particularly at this time of year, it’s easy to become very busy and distracted (both you and your prospects!) and no longer be top of mind with someone that you really may want to be better connected to.

So what should you do after a networking event? FOLLOW UP!
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A few years ago, I remember a woman I know posting on Twitter that her daughter had said “this is the best day of my life. We went to the park, we’re going to mcdonalds, I found a penny. The best day of my life.”

She was 5 at the time, but she had already been through a lot, dealing with a very scary brain tumor that year.  And that, plus a few big things going on in my own life and friends’ lives, have me thinking – the best days of my life really have been about the little things.

Sure, graduating from college was exciting, buying my first house was exciting (well, more nerve-wracking and expensive than exciting), but were they the “best” days of my life?

Nah.

Those have been about the little things – the first time each of my nieces said my name for the first time (or any time they say it, frankly).  Every time one of my dogs comes racing over to see me like I’m his favorite person in the world (I am). Slipping my hand into the hand of the person I love for the first time. Crossing the line of my first marathon (okay, that was kind of a big one). Really focusing to help a friend going through a tough time, and knowing that being there makes a difference. Laughing until I cry with women who really get me. Those are some of my best days.


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As I was scrolling through Instagram the other night, I came across a post from a former ILN lawyer (shoutout to Craig Levey) who announced that he’ll be running the Boston Marathon in 20 weeks. What’s more, he’s using those 20 weeks as an opportunity to spend a training session each week with “a local executive, entrepreneur, or Boston personality,” and sharing that on social media. This is something I just love, and it’s also something you can emulate, without having to run the Boston Marathon (though, if that’s your goal, more power to you!).

Let’s talk about why this works, and how you can do what Craig is doing. 
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Over the last few years, data has become more and more popular a subject, as we try to quantify everything to do with our businesses. “Please don’t make me try to quantify my relationships TOO!” I can hear you opining. But I promise, the goal is a worthwhile one.

What is always our goal when it comes to any business development or relationship development tactic? Maximizing the benefit and maximizing efficiency, right?
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Daily, we interact with lots of people – this happens in person, at our offices, in the coffee shop, at our kids’ sporting events or art classes. It happens online, through our group chats, text messages with friends, Facebook shares, LinkedIn comments, etc. We interact so much and so frequently, that we’ve reached a real saturation point with these interactions, and even with our professional messages, we can see a lack of care that a lot of us are giving to the details over the tools and the shiny new thing. Instead, we’re just blindly producing more and more and more and more, adding more noise (as Adrian Lurssen would say). 

If you’re sure that YOU are producing things of value, and not just more noise, ask someone in your circle if they can remember the last thing you shared on LinkedIn, or the last article you wrote. If they can’t, chances are, you’re not producing anything memorable. You’re not creating connection in your relationships. 
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