“This book tells you all you need to know about how to get on.” The Times

“Relatively few books have been written with assistant solicitors in mind, about how to succeed at the business of being a lawyer… fewer still have devised a programme for so doing that runs alongside a book. This book does both.”Law Society (The Law Management Section)

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Networking tip 19: Be a sponge

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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 6: Congratulate and compliment

Most of us mean well when it comes to praise and encouragement, but we often don’t follow through. Are you shy about such things, or afraid of coming across as a flatterer? Grit your teeth and do it anyway! When you hear something positive about someone, make a real effort to congratulate the person, no matter how long ago you may have had contact or how tenuous a relationship you might have had in the past.  (“I don’t know whether I mentioned it or not, but Harriet just raved about your presentation at the European conference. We all got fed up with hearing about it!”) Congratulating or complimenting someone makes that person feel special, and represents the single easiest way to establish—or improve—rapport. (How would you feel, if it were you?)

As an example, while I was still practicing law, I was mentioned one day in the cover story of a legal journal. A consultant I’d worked with a decade before sent me a copy with a congratulatory note. I felt so pleased that he’d remembered me and taken the time and trouble to acknowledge my accomplishment! Thanks to this friendly gesture, we reconnected, and I’ve since gone out of my way to provide him with beneficial contacts.   

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