Since March, most of us have been getting a crash course in how to use Zoom (or other virtual platforms). In some ways, Zoom is really just another phone call and most lawyers are very accustomed to speaking on conference calls. But Zoom has its own nuances and as many of us are learning, there are pluses and minuses of being able to connect visually from a distance. In the latest episode of the Counsel to Counsel podcast, I speak with Charlotte Dietz, Founder of Speak Well Partners. Charlotte is a talented communications and public speaking coach and business story strategist. She shares some great insights into how we can all do a better job communicating in a virtual environment.
Since the start of the year, we’ve learned a lot from COVID-19 about how disease spreads. While it is hard to see beyond the toll that the pandemic is taking on our health and on our economy, I’ve been looking for the silver linings and the lessons we can learn. In the future, I’ll look back nostalgically on this time and remember the months I was able to have dinners with my three adult children who are all living with us.
I’ve also realized that the coronavirus has something to teach us about business development and the importance of building a network. In the case of the coronavirus, building that network is clearly a bad thing. In the case of business development, building a network is essential for success.
While COVID-19 spreads from individual to individual, we know that it can spread more quickly when groups of people come together; and it can spread exponentially faster when large groups of people are congregated indoors and near each other.
So how is this relevant to business development and business relationship building? The short answer is that it is better to know more people than fewer people. Your referrals will grow more quickly if you know more people and if you deepen your relationship with those people.
We are now living through the snow day of all snow days! Even if you or your family’s health has not been affected by the coronavirus (and I hope it hasn’t), surely every other aspect of your life has been turned upside down. For most of us, there have been great disruptions at work (at a minimum, projects put on hold, meetings and court appearances postponed, employees working remotely).
These disruptions can impact our productivity in many ways. For me personally, I’ve been moving meetings on-line, stocking up at BJs, dealing with elderly parents, helping my daughter who is studying abroad to navigate her early return, etc. But with every crisis, there are also opportunities. So here are a few things to consider as we get used to the new normal:
A few months ago, I decided to sit down at a local coffee shop and work on my blog and my podcast. It was a Sunday afternoon and I could have easily worked from my home office; but I decided that it would be nice to get out of the house. I wasn’t planning to meet anyone. On the other hand, it is not uncommon for me to run into people I know when I go to coffee shops in my town.
I walked into a nearby Starbucks and sitting in the corner was the father of one of my son’s college friends. I parked myself at a table on the other side of the restaurant and popped open my laptop. He was busy
If you live in Boston, it’s pretty hard to ignore what is going on with the sports scene. For the past 17 years or so the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots have won many championships and you can throw in a few championships as well from the Boston Celtics and the Boston Bruins. Because of the sports culture of the city, sports does tend to be a popular topic in networking situations. But if you’re like me, sports viewing does not occupy a significant portion of your free time. I tune in when one of our teams makes it to the championship round and I may enjoy one night a year at Fenway Park, although I’m just as likely to end up at Fenway to hear a concert featuring aging rockers (I saw the Who this past summer-inspiring to see that Pete Townsend can still twirl his arm while playing guitar and not end up in the hospital).
Anyone who has spent any time around me lately knows that I am a very active member of Provisors. I am a zealous “convert”. I only joined Provisors in June, but since that time I have probably been to 30 meetings or “troikas”. I am now on the Executive Committee of the Cambridge I Group (the Recruiting Chair) and I’m chairing the Recruiting Subcommittee of the Diversity Committee.
Provisors has really energized me and had a very positive impact on my business (for now the impact has been mostly indirect but I’m sure that will change over time.) Simply put, Provisors is a great business networking group that is providing me with a terrific opportunity to grow my professional network quickly. It’s like a cult (but in a good way!)
What I love most about the organization is that there is a heavy emphasis on helping other members and on thanking them for their efforts. Being part of the organization really hammers home the message that in order to “get” you need to “give” first.
I joined Provisors less than 2 months ago and I’m already convinced that it will be the best thing I’ve ever done professionally.
Provisors, for the uninitiated, is a business networking group that brings together a broad mix of professional service providers who are looking to share business resources and referrals. The organization is a particularly fertile referral ground for lawyers and accountants.
Like most people who share content on LinkedIn, whenever I post something, I start to focus on how many views the post has had. It is a fun way to see if my messaging is having any impact and in a small way, it is a measurement of whether my marketing is working. I do the same when I send out newsletters.
Anyone who posts on Facebook or Instagram knows the feeling. You get a little rush of dopamine when you see the “likes” adding up. But focusing on the quantity of views on LinkedIn may not be a very good measure of how much impact you are having with your target audience.
I joined ProVisors today and I’m really looking forward to getting to know the members of my home group, Cambridge I. ProVisors is a business networking organization that provides a great platform for building your network. There are a lot of lawyers who are members and I can already see how valuable it is going to be.
Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending a great panel discussion on diversity and inclusion (sponsored by the Association of Employment Professionals.) The program included ample time to network so I made sure to get there extra early. Shortly after my arrival, I ran into Neal Fay, a recruiter I see at a lot of recruiting functions.
Neal is the consummate networker. He is personable, shows genuine interest in talking to you and always has something he is ready to discuss. He clearly buys into the networking rule that I have written about: Be Interested; Be Interesting.