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Networking tip 14: Think like a host

Rather than entering the room with the attitude of “Here I am!” you should maintain the networking mindset of taking an interest in others (“There you are!”). My former colleague, Chris, takes concentrating on others a step further. He has a knack of treating everyone as though they are important guests and he’s the host—even when he’s technically a visitor, too. Chris is always the first to ask if anyone needs a drink or a bite to eat. He looks after everyone’s comfort and makes sure that each person is properly introduced. If there aren’t enough seats, Chris always tries to find another, or goes without one himself.  Whatever the situation, he takes responsibility for making other people feel at ease. Not surprisingly, people respond to Chris’s warmth just as guests respond to a great host—and Chris’s attitude always makes him the most popular person in any crowd.

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Networking tip 13: Be positive

The more positive you are when you begin a conversation, the more favorable a first impression you make. I recently attended a luncheon at which the person placed next to me arrived midway through the meal. As he took his seat he commented, “Sorry I’m so late. The City just gets worse and worse! First my tube train broke down, and then I had to get a cab. But, of course, there were no cabs, thanks to the foul weather. And when I finally got one, would you believe that the stupid driver couldn’t find the street!?” After that introduction I had a difficult time warming to my luncheon partner, despite the fact that he subsequently became much more engaging. If he had started with, “Wow! Murderous getting here, but I’m so glad I made it!” how different my first impression might have been!

 

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Networking tip 12: Treat every introduction as a thrill

Treat every introduction as a thrill. Do this quick exercise: Pretend that your best friend—whom you haven’t seen for ages—is about to walk through the door. How do you feel?  Excited? Happy? Lit up? Now try evoking that same emotion before you meet someone new. Admittedly, you’re not going to actually feel toward that person as you do with your best friend—that would be a strong symptom of insanity—but you should still try to exude the same energy. An enthusiastic greeting creates instant rapport and makes a powerful first impact.

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Networking tip 11: Have the right attitude

In my last blog I talked about "working a room" as part of your networking endeavours. So to follow on from that....

The first step to working a room is attitude: You should either feel happy to be there or be able to convey a decent impression of the same. So get into that mindset, or you might as well go home (indeed, I would urge you to do so)!

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Networking tip 10: First impressions

If you want to expand your network, this inevitably means at some point "working a room" and doing this well depends on making a positive first impression. You convey who you are (your personal brand) the moment you enter a room, so remind yourself in advance of what you’re trying to project and make any necessary adjustments to mood or appearance. Body language and voice make up a big part of first impressions, so on entering a room concentrate first on maintaining good posture, exhibiting relaxed alertness, and communicating a warm and friendly tone. You want to convey feel-good factors: positivity, smiles, energy, and enthusiasm. Invoking those things will create the right chemistry for a high-impact impression.

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