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Saturday, July 30, 2011

The need for downtime

Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick...your brain is full, the creases are marking your forhead and the To-Do list is growing.
When can you close up shop and head out? Your stomach is growling, the weekend relaxation calls and your family and friends nudge you into distraction.
If you don't say NO, you feel like a dunce. If you don't say YES, you feel irresponsible.
What's a professional to do?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Now for the Don'ts of the Marketing Game Plan

Yesterday I shared the value of picking up a copy of this paperback or hardbound copy of Nancy Ancowitz's extremely resourceful book. If you think you COULD be an introvert (dislike mingling at networking events, would rather not give a presentation, prefer to stay at your desk for lunch, etc.) this is a great resource for those of you needing to originate business.

Yesterday's post, The Introverts' Marketing Game Plan: The Do's , lays out 5 useful tips for the introvert to do for self-promotion. They make sense for the introvert.

Today is Nancy Ancowitz's concise list of what NOT to do.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Introverts Marketing Game Plan: The Do's

Nancy Ancowitz's book, self-promotion for introverts is one of the best reads I've found that helps the introvert understand their strengths while trying to promote business. If you can relate to the introvert, get a copy of this book. I know - business development is the hardest piece for this intelligent, committed individual. Yet if learning some techniques and remembering your strengths is the first step toward getting back in the game, get this book.

Here are a few nuggets you'll uncover:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Solo Practioners' Accountability Group

Malpractice, client complaints, workload overwhelm - all these spell disaster to the solo practitioner. And yet this entrepreneur who wears all the hats while reporting to nobody endures the risk of these things on a regular basis. Truth is, you don't have to go it alone. For some, coaching is a valuable option. Yet the budget of the solo practitioner may not support it. Is there an affordable, timely option for creating accountability?

Lawyer's world: Turnabout is Fair Play

Digging deep is a behavior pattern for the lawyer to engage in when uncovering evidence, researching history and background, questioning witnesses. Search requires getting past the roadblocks, the barriers to the goldmine.

Friday, July 22, 2011

6 Facts about Public Speaking Anxiety

When I was a child I was ultra shy. The middle child in my family, I developed the pattern of letting my older sister do the decision-making and my younger brother handle conversation.

That pattern made me comfortable yet did little to help me break away from the communication barriers I created. What this means is, I had problems entering conversation, getting to know people, making decisions and feeling confident around people. Later in life when encouraged to speak up at meetings or to groups, I suffered physical anxieties like diarhea triggers, focus issues, cold hands, and weak knees.

Researchers tell us that social phobias like public speaking anxiety start in childhood with shyness. If we don't address them, they progress through adulthood.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Merri's Tips - Part 9

 50. Remember your manners. It seems when we are tired, worn out or challenged by things in daily life, our manners get forgotten. Recall what you learned in kindergarten about being nice, friendly and personable.

51. Choose those times when manners aren't needed. Whether you're being bullied or physically attacked, manners will get you no place. Quite honestly, these are the times when you must show your muscle. Stand up. Speak up. Listen up. Buck up. These times are few, but how we play them will demonstrate what we are made of.

52. Do what it takes to find rest. Our minds and our bodies will be in constant motion if we don't quiet them. I'm not the one to say how to do so. Each of us inherently knows what it takes for us to be at rest. It's our job to do it. It's a commandment. And on the 7th day...

Quieting our mind is part of intrapersonal management. Becoming aware of our emotions  (what we are feeling) and regulating them (determining how we prefer to feel and then focusing on this) are essential for our minds to be quieted.

Gain confidence in this and we gain control over manners, relationships, responsibilities and how we present ourselves.  

One Simple Rule of Thumb for Courtroom/Public Speaking

Recently I spent an hour with a client wanting a review of the presentation he's giving for an office all-staff meeting. As I requested, he sent me the focus of his message in advance so I could get a sense of the content. Although it was fairly technical, I knew there were ways he could engage his listeners so they didn't slump into their seats while pulling out their smartphones.

Since his intention was to motivate the listeners into taking certain steps toward behavior changes, he knew he had to help them focus on themselves instead of being distracted by how he was presenting the message and then quickly tune out.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Advice for new Managing Partners

Yesterday I had lunch with a tremendous lawyer friend of mine who is in her first several months as managing partner in her firm. As many of us are, she is cautious about her expertise and current successes. She could be overwhelmed with the responsibilities on her plate, yet she has had something I think is hugely commendable: willingness to listen to peers about what it takes to handle this position.

Although she received many pieces of advice from trusted friends and associates within other firms, she has whittled down the list to 3 main rules to follow so she can avoid wringing her hands at the end of the day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Who Around You is Worthy of Good Treatment

Our weekend guests, Amanda and Aaron, will be in their 4th year at Ball State University where they each are working toward their degrees in music education.

As they were reflecting on insights gleaned of late, one comment surfaced: "It's now clear that we treat the school librarians well. They can be the ones buying texts and resources our budgets can't afford!"
I agree. Befriending someone who has the power to give you quality resources is essential. Harolyn Legg was that person for me.

A past school teacher myself, I've since recalled 2 other important relationships in my tenure of teaching: the school secretary and the custodian. From Nancy Stillberger to Pam Schimmoehler, I realized the role of school secretary is more of a roller coaster ride than that of a classroom teacher. They deal with all the complainers - not just some, but all.

Discovering Your Courtroom Impact

You slide your chair away from the table, rise and approach. You can't help but watch yourself, hear your footsteps and feel the hairs on the back of your neck.

What are your opening words? Where is your opening focus? What is the impact you've already made?

Litigators know the power of their presence and courtroom performance. It's one thing to have their case strategy laid out. It's quite another to deliver the effect they're after, create a connection with the jurors and judge and relate without going over the top. And clients want them to be confident as well.

Where do you turn to determine the impact you're making?

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Comfortable Way for Lawyers to Network

Just as Stephanie Francis Ward suggests in her article, Shy Lawyers' Guide to Becoming a Rainmaker, there is a major quality of many lawyers that serve them will when it comes to networking - their ability to research.

How do the two go together? As Ward suggests, it is all about focus.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

How lawyers fool themselves

If you don't believe your head is in the sand, (click to read the article by Leadership Freak) you may want to ask yourself a few questions about your ability to focus ON your lawyer business vs. IN it:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Merri's Tips - Part 8

47. Take care of yourself. Instead of saying yes to everyone who needs assistance, decide in advance what type of things to say yes to, how many at one time, and then you'll learn the art of saying No. It can sound like this:
"I am already committed to 'x amount' of things and feel it would be irresponsible to commit to more."
"Thank you for thinking of me, but I am committed to "x" right now."

Understanding your commitment and time boundaries is one of the biggest ways to take care of yourself.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The evidence lawyers leave behind

Lawyers, you may not see it now, but there is evidence you're leaving behind. And it's crucial that you learn of it. It's the evidence of how well you are performing in the courtroom.

Not long ago, Ronda Muir wrote The Unique Psychological World of Lawyers, which demonstrates the "strikingly different" profile of lawyers as compared to that of the typical US public.  Based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Muir concludes that in 3 of 4 areas, lawyers are made up differently from non-lawyers. (see the article for details) They are thinkers, introverts and intuitors as opposed to feelers, extroverts and sensors - the later of which the general public can relate to. But most of us are judgers vs.  perceivers.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Merri's Tips - Part 7

43. Create SMART goals. You're a business owner, I presume, so identify goals that will help you build business. If they are SMART, they are specific, measureable, actionable, realistic and timely. Only then can you assess your progress and stay accountable to what you say you're going to do.

44. Constantly reach out to folks you already know in your industry and your network. Staying top of mind is tough unless you have good experiences with people. Make coffee dates, go for a walk around the building, do what it takes to stay in front of 8-10 or more folks each week.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Quick Tip for Lawyers who want to Build Business

Time is money. In the lawyer world, this doesn't only ring true for committing to the billable hour focus. This is true for working ON business as well as IN it.

If you were to look at your daily task list, somewhere near the bottom you would no doubt find things like - call Mike about having lunch to discuss some referral options, RSVP for the chamber after hours event, return a call/email to ABC prospect.

Why are these tasks at the bottom of the list?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lawyer Communication: from Writing to Speaking

There's no doubt about it. Lawyers are great writers. Whether this is based on natural gifts or skills they've developed over the years, it serves them well to craft the content, the flow and the wordsmithing of their written messages.

Shift to speaking, and the circumstances can flip-flop from lawyers being confident to suddenly overwhelmed. Put many lawyers in front of a group for a public speaking event and the challenges they face include: