I am a classic rock fanatic!
I love rock-n-roll music from the 50s through the 80s. And the song Dancing in The Streets, from which the title of this post comes arises, has been swimming around my head for the past few days (shout out to Martha and the Vandellas, or David Bowie & Mick Jagger if you prefer that version).
And, it made me think that with the unofficial start of Summer a few days ago (albeit, from the weather in the north-east of the United States you wouldn’t have known it – it was 50 degrees, wet, windy and cold), how much I was looking forward to Summer this year.
See, Summer 2021 is going to be different from any other summer that we have had. Last year, we were all relegated to our homes because of the raging contagion. This year, the pandemic is beginning to wane (fingers crossed), vaccinations are being provided to everyone, mask mandates are lifting, and I am getting invitation after invitation to attend golf events, in-person networking events, corporate conferences, and even coffee dates. Except, I don’t know about you, but I have gotten very used to being holed up in my apartment. It literally has become a habit. And while the idea of going to in-person networking events is incredibly appealing to my outgoing and extroverted nature, the thought of leaving my apartment is scary to the introverted part of me.
I am sure I am not the only one going through this mental see-saw. However, ladies and gentlemen of the Bar, it is time!
It is time to begin meeting people in person again. Networking is about creating relationships. Yes, relationships can be built in a virtual atmosphere. In fact, over the past year and a half, I have met people from all over the world who I now consider to be colleagues and friends. And, I don’t believe that would have happened had it not been for Covid-19, but there is still nothing better than standing/sitting face to face with someone.
Facial expressions, body language, the unspoken nature of communications have been difficult, albeit not impossible, to manage via virtual means. I have touted the benefits of virtual networking for the past 16 months, and I stand by my claims. Virtual networking has its place. And, I am of the humble opinion that it will continue in perpetuity. In fact, I think that many law firms and their clients have seen the benefits of using virtual means to meet.
Law firms eliminated travel costs to and from clients’ offices/businesses for a short meeting during the pandemic. It will become a factor in law firms again, but one of the best things about the option of virtual meetings is that clients have a choice. Do they want to pay for you coming to their businesses or not?
It is time-consuming to travel for a lunch appointment. I think of the times I would travel into New York City for a lunch date. While I am less than 30 miles northwest of the metropolis, it would take me more than an hour to get there and more than an hour to get back (due to traffic). Add close to an hour and a half for lunch, and that is almost 5 hours (usually closer to six) hours of my day that is occupied for that lunch appointment. That’s a lot of billable hours for a lawyer to spend.
With that being said, Rainmakers will have to find a balanced hybrid for networking both on and off-line.
The way to do this is to be judicious about which networking events you will attend in person. If the event is swimming with your ideal clients, then go. If it is a fun event (like a golf outing), then go. If it is a place where you can go to see all of the people you haven’t seen in person for a year (and you would like to), then go.
You have to re-establish your networking mojo –it’s tough to think about walking into a room with a few dozen or more people these days, but as long as you are comfortable with the idea, then get back into the swing of things.
Virtual networking is here to stay, just as using social media to connect with others virtually will never go away. But it’s time to get out of the house/office and start making contact with the human race.
If you are a law firm looking to teach your lawyers the nuances of in-person AND virtual networking with Ethics CLEs, contact me for more information and pricing on a webinar or in-office seminar.
The post Rainmaking Recommendation #244: Summer’s Here and the Time is Right . . . first appeared on Enlightened Rainmaking.