Procrastination? Fear of rejection? No clear objective? These are the most common excuses I find my clients have as to why they don’t follow-up. And when I refer to follow-up, it could be after a networking event, conference, meeting etc.
Procrastination: The longer you avoid it, the less likely you will do it. I give my clients the ’24-hour rule’. Unless your event or meeting takes place on a Friday, follow-up within 24 hours while you and they are still top of mind.
Fear of rejection: What’s the worst thing that can happen? They show no interest? Is that going to kill you? Nike! Just do it!
No clear objective: Ok, here is where it gets interesting. If you’ve met someone for the first time and you think they are someone you should get to know better, but you didn’t take that opportunity to at least find out something that you could refer to in your follow-up, then there’s really no point is there?
Here’s the thing. If you are going to invest your time meeting with people, networking, attending conferences, if you don’t follow-up to move that relationship forward, then you wasted your time. Do you like wasting your time?
I’ve often used this phrase with my clients. When you think about a rock, what comes to mind? And when you think about water, what comes to mind?
Exactly. A rock is stagnant, it doesn’t move, it’s inflexible. Water on the other hand is literally fluid. It moves around rocks and flows freely.
When you think about your business, or your life for that matter, be water and not a rock. Roll with the punches. Always remain fluid and flexible. Things come at you pretty fast. Things change on a dime. If you remain inflexible like a rock, you are not able to deal with the situation effectively. It’s kind of like denial; standing strong in your place and not budging. How does that serve you? How does that serve your staff? How does that serve your clients?
So ask yourself, “How can I be more like water?”
You don’t show confidence by going on about yourself. That actually shows the opposite. The following tips are as relevant in a job interview as they are when networking, meeting with clients, or speaking at events.
Four key tips:
- Be brief and succinct
- Use only affirmative language
- Don’t be afraid to pause
While these four tips may seem simple, and they are by the way, they go a long way in demonstrating confidence. You can use this little menu and modify it to use in your writing as well.
- Be brief and succinct: Don’t ramble on and on. If you do ramble, you will almost always repeat yourself. Get to the point. Use short sentences rather than a whole bunch of punctuation. Rambling on is a sign of nervousness, not confidence.
- Use only affirmative language: Instead of “I feel…”, or “I believe…”, use ” I know…”, or “I’m confident…” This is very subtle but you might be surprised how it changes the tone of your communication.
- Don’t be afraid to pause: Do you feel the need to fill silence? Why not let the other person or audience for that matter have the chance to absorb what you just said. Silence is powerful!
- Smile: Pretty self-explanatory. Again, while subtle, it will go a long way.
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The beginning of a New Year always offers us so much hope. Hope for a new start. Hope for another chance. Hope to improve, learn and grow. Hope for whatever it is that we want more of.
That brings me to my all-time favorite quote. It comes from one of Goethe’s couplets:
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can-begin it-boldness has genius, power and magic in it”
I find far too many lawyers put too much pressure on themselves when it comes to networking. And most of the time, the solution is in the ‘how’ and ‘where’ of networking. What is networking after-all? Well it’s not sales. You are not there to pitch yourself or your services. Networking is about meeting people. Outside of work, you meet people all the time and it’s natural. Why not take the same approach to your professional networking. This should be fun folks, not painful as it is for so many.
The way to make networking more natural for you is by taking a keen and curious approach to the people you are meeting. Get to know them. Ask questions. Questions which will lead you to understanding more about them and if you think it’s worth investing your time in building a relationship with them. One of my favorite questions to get a conversation started is “What brings you here today?”. Others include, “what do you hope to learn today?”, “how long have you been coming to these events?” Not only will you feel more comfortable when networking, but you will actually learn something about the other person, which if you choose to, you can use when following up with them.