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Work and Play

Gird Yourself for the Holiday Season!

By The Editors

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 for work and play 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.

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 CarterSally Schmidt and Mike O’Horo have great ideas and a lot of inspiration. 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. (Refer to Otto Sorts’ guidance on dealing with dunderheads.) You’ve spent the whole year 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 can intervene in a meaningful way. Georgetown Law’s Marcia Pennington Shannon provides help identifying the symptoms and Caron’s Link Christin points to ways to confront burnout, depression and addiction. And here is some powerful guidance to make sure you know what you’re doing before stepping up to help out.

5. Baby yourself. As they say on the airplane, you want to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others. You won’t be in any shape to help if you’re a soggy, whimpering mess. You’ll be much happier — and better able to manage holiday stress says Jamie Spannhake, if you 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.

Illustration ©iStockPhoto.com

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