The winter holidays draw nigh. The time has come to gird your loins and make provision for the breathless marathon ahead. To that end, we dedicate this post to the proposition that, “He who is best prepared can best serve his moment of inspiration.” (Thank you, Samuel Coleridge!) No matter what or how you mean to celebrate, or what events are on your season’s plate, tuck into this feast of wisdom from Attorney at Work contributors.
1. There will be groups. Some of them will be big. Others intimate. Regardless, inevitably you’ll be called on to act like an extrovert, even if you’d really rather not. Prepare yourself with some timeless advice on overcoming social anxiety, mastering the meet-and-greet and priming the pump for excellent small talk. You might even try getting to know a few more colleagues and clients better before this year’s big party. Here are four introvert-friendly ways to do it, and an invaluable guide to the secret science of mingling.
2. Be ready when opportunity knocks. Since these weeks are filled with get-togethers, and as is always the case when you’re in socializing mode, there are new people to be met and connections to form. Even if you are a networking pro, your tools need tuning up from time to time. To that end, uber-networkers Roy Ginsburg, Ruth Carter, Sally Schmidt and Mike O’Horo have great ideas. Here are 40 more quick networking tips — after all, your network is your net worth.
3. Do try to behave. Throughout the season’s raft of events, your reputation is on display. So you’ll want to make a good impression, networking or not. You can start by minding your table manners (including avoiding these dining table faux pas) and impressing the multitudes with your ability to remember everyone’s name. It really is important. Also important: Avoid conversational minefields. (Try on a few go-to phrases for dealing with the inevitable awkward moments, and refer to Otto Sorts’ guidance on dealing with dunderheads.) You’ve spent years (long years) learning how to not talk politics and survive, so you can keep the lid on it for a few more weeks.
4. People may need your help. For some, the holidays are the worst of times. If a friend or colleague is wrestling with the blues — or, more profoundly, depression — you will be giving them the best-ever holiday gift if you reach out in a meaningful way. Dan Lukasik of LawyersWithDepression.com says lawyers who work side by side with the lawyer who is suffering are in the best position to assist. “Too often, people say to themselves, ‘It’s none of my business’ or ‘I don’t want to invade their privacy.’ Fair points. However, many suffering lawyers wish a fellow lawyer would care enough to ask, in a warm and constructive way, if they are feeling alright.” Here, Caron’s Link Christin points to ways to confront burnout, depression and addiction. And here is more powerful guidance to make sure you know what you’re doing before stepping up to help out.
5. Baby yourself. Of course, you won’t be in any shape to help anyone with anything if you’re a soggy, whimpering mess. You’ll be much happier — and better able to manage holiday stress — says Jamie Spannhake, if you ditch the fantasy of a perfect holiday, accept reality and try to keep your sense of humor. For your best chance at a truly mellow holiday — one that actually alleviates burnout instead of piling on more stress — you’ll want to leave your lawyer at work.
Updated from a post originally published in November 2017.
You Might Also Like …
- “Tiptoe Through the Holidays” by Shawn Healy
- “Strategies for Surviving the Annual Office Party”
- “Law Firm Holiday Card Planner” by Elizabeth Butcher
- “Five Ways to Create Holiday Marketing That Shines” by Danielle Yocum
- “How NOT to Talk Politics and Survive” by Bull Garlington
- “Stress Less: Three Proven Strategies” by Heather Moulder
What a Great Gift Idea:
In her new book “The Lawyer, the Lion, and the Laundry: Three Hours to Finding Your Calm in the Chaos,” lawyer and certified health coach Jamie Spannhake shares a better way to enjoy the life you truly want. Join her for a fun and enlightening journey to learn how to CHOOSE, ACT and THINK in ways that will clarify your desires so you can reclaim your time and enjoy your life.
Now available in the Attorney at Work bookstore, here.