“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 9: Remember that people's positions change and grow

Suppose you look at your network and think that nobody there is of real value. Perhaps the people in your inner circle have no current relationship to your area of law, or perhaps—at least at this point—they are still too junior. Yet someone who might not appear helpful today can become helpful in the future. When talking to lawyers about their clients, I hear hundreds of stories about work that resulted from unanticipated circumstances or unexpected people, and it’s quite common for someone in a network to move unexpectedly into a position requiring legal services.

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Networking tip 8: Enjoy your network

Although we are technically talking about business, the reality is that networking is about relationships, and is based upon exactly the same principles as friendship. Thus, each networking relationship will be subtly different from every other, and each person in your network will possess his own individual attributes, strengths, influence, and aura. However, each one should be someone you respect, trust, and enjoy, and the relationship, not the potential benefit, should be the driver.

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Networking tip 7: Pass along compliments

It's now February and the New Year is no longer new.  However, I will follow on with January's "Networking in the New Year" theme and continue with my networking tips.  It's now tip number seven and this one follow on from my last blog entry which urged you to always compliment and congratulate people, no matter how small the occasion.  

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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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Networking tip 5: Use your people skills

The first place to start in cultivating your network is to concentrate on the number-one rule of human desire: Make others feel important and appreciated.

Second, be generous with your time and your efforts; think about how you can help the people in your network. This is not about keeping score (“Gosh, how they’ll owe me for this one!”)—instead, it’s a mindset you should apply to every person in your network—not just people you think might one day prove useful, but everyone. This is partly because business isn’t the be-all and end-all of a happy life, and partly because you want your networking skills to become instinctive, which will not happen if you choose to be selective about whom you treat well.

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