When A Partner Leaves, Will Clients Follow?

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Several folks have asked me, either by email or in comments, to write about this subject: When a partner moves laterally from one law firm to another, will clients stick with the old firm or follow the partner?

I’m afraid the answer is both obvious and indefinite: It depends.

As a client, suppose I have one partner and one associate at a big firm who have handled several cases for me over time. The partner and associate decide to move together to a new firm. Do I follow?

Of course.

In this situation, the identity of the firm is irrelevant. We probably started working with the partner years ago, and we were happy with her work. She works with only one associate, and we’re happy with the associate’s work. We know the two individuals well, and we know that they personally are doing the work for us.

This is thus a no-brainer: When the lawyers doing our work move on to greener pastures, we follow them. (I have actual experience with this situation. We’ve had a partner and an associate move on, and we followed them. I’m not speaking hypothetically here.)

Change the situation: A firm participates in a beauty contest. Both the lead partner and the team that participate in the beauty contest impress us. We work with the firm for a few months, and the lead partner disappears for a while: She’s in trial for another client, on an extended vacation, in rehab, whatever. But the firm continues to represent us swimmingly even in the partner’s absence.

The partner then reappears and promptly announces that she’s changing firms. Do we follow?

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Perkins Coie Managing Partner Juggles Past With Future

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Few Am Law 100 firm leaders have had starring roles in high-impact political litigation while managing their firms. John Devaney, who became Perkins Coie’s new managing partner on Jan. 1, falls into that category. In March, Washington, D.C.-based Devaney argued a case at the Florida Supreme Court that will determine whether the state must scrap a redistricting map drawn up by Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature, a map that Devaney’s clients—Democratic voters—say amounted to partisan gerrymandering.

It’s just one of several such redistricting challenges he’s worked on since 2011 on behalf of Democratic voters in Republican-controlled states. Devaney, 57, spoke with The Am Law Daily about all the litigation and his recent appointment to the top post at the 1,002-lawyer Perkins Coie, where Democratic politics have long run in the DNA of the firm’s D.C. office. Last week, Perkins Coie, which already represents the Democrats’ Senate and House campaign committees, confirmed that it will serve as lead outside counsel to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Below is an edited transcript of the interview:

The Am Law Daily: You came to Perkins Coie in 1988 after four years as a trial lawyer in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, then spent the next 22 years doing a full range of commercial and communications litigation. Most recently, you’ve spent much of your time on Voting Rights Act redistricting challenges, mostly on behalf of by minority voters. Do you feel like you’ve come full circle?

John Devaney: I do. I was involved in some memorable Justice Department civil rights lawsuits back then against a dozen suburban towns outside Chicago and about 14 outside Detroit. Each had a requirement that you had to live there to serve in a municipal job, and we alleged that since there were almost no black residents, the requirement had an adverse affect on their employment by the municipalities. It was a novel theory at the time. We got a federal district court judge to endorse our position that the requirement was unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. That led to me negotiating well over a dozen consent decrees.

ALD: How did you get involved in the voter redistricting cases?

JD: In 2011, Marc [Elias, head of Perkins Coie’s 23-lawyer political law group and Democratic legal troubleshooter] was hired to assist the Democratic Party in disputes related to redistricting. I was in his office one day, just talking about the disputes on the horizon, and he asked me to take on a courtroom role as someone with a civil rights and a litigation background, and I very willingly signed on. The Texas redistricting fight began soon afterward. Texas had earned four more seats after the 2010 Census. The seats were almost exclusively due to an increase in the Latino population. But in the new maps drawn by the Republican-controlled legislature, three of the four new seats were located in white districts, a big red flag. Back then, Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act applied, which required Texas and eight other states to get preclearance for any changes to their election laws. They went to a three-judge panel of the D.C. District to get the maps precleared.

Working in conjunction with the Voting Rights section of the Department of Justice and various public interest groups, my team took depositions of people who had drawn up the map who said that race wasn’t a factor in creating the voting districts. Then I and some other lawyers conducted a two-week trial before the panel in January 2012. Ultimately the panel found that the Texas legislature had engaged in racial discrimination in drawing the new map. But in June 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated key parts of Section 5, and our victory was ultimately vacated. The underlying finding of racial discrimination wasn’t refuted, however, and there are ongoing related proceedings under Section 2 and the Equal Protection Clause—but we’re not involved in those.

ALD: There have been several other court challenges since the Supreme Court decision in 2013 focusing on Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause, and you’ve been involved in many of them. Can you tell me about those?

JD: At the same time we were litigating in Texas, we initiated challenges to Florida’s redistricting map in February 2012. Because I had just come off the Texas case, it made sense for me to jump in and help out. That took a very significant amount of my time from that spring till this past fall, culminating with a three-week bench trial before the Florida state court last May into June. The verdict July 10 was that that the Florida legislative map was unconstitutional in that it improperly favored the Republican Party and that the Florida legislature had engaged in a conspiracy with paid Republican operatives to draw maps favorable to their candidates. Last month, I argued at the state’s Supreme Court asking the court to throw out a redistricting map that was subsequently amended, but only in a very limited way. We’ve asked the court to throw out the entire state redistricting map. A decision on our appeal could come as soon as May.

Concurrently, we were also prosecuting a second case in Florida and cases in Virginia and North Carolina. I played a significant role early on in those. [The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ordered a review of a ruling upholding the redistricting in North Carolina; on March 30, the court also sent a ruling scrapping the Virginia legislature’s redistricting back for review, both in light of the court’s recent decision in Alabama Legislative Black Caucus v. Alabama, which found that the Alabama state legislature had relied too heavily on race in its redistricting by packing black voters in a few districts.]

ALD: Didn’t all the litigation coincide with the firm’s leadership succession process?

JD: It did (laughs). In May, a week or two before trial in Florida, I had to miss a pretrial conference because I’d been asked by the firm’s managing partner selection committee to come up for an interview. I couldn’t tell the judge why I had to be absent, which was awkward, because it’s kind of a big deal to miss a pretrial conference. But anyway, I flew to Chicago for the interview and came back to Tallahassee right afterward. Then, during the trial, the firm had me undergo psychometric tests, which I did during one weekend break. After the results were in, they had a psychologist tell me about my characteristics as a leader.

ALD: What did you learn about yourself in that process?

JD: Two things that stood out: I am very goal-oriented. I’m focused and driven in that way. Second, I have a low level of skepticism, quite a bit below the mean for lawyers. That means I had a higher level of trust in people generally.

ALD: How has your involvement in the cases changed since you were chosen last July as [former Perkins Coie managing partner Bob] Giles’ successor? And what has been your chief focus during your first 100 days?

JD: Naturally, I have had to become less engaged in the voting litigation, and my colleague Kevin Hamilton, an expert in recounts [who represented Sen. Al Franken in his recount, among others] has stepped up his involvement. We also just hired Bruce Spiva, a former Jenner & Block partner and an expert in voting rights litigation.

Last fall, to prepare for the managing partner role, I visited most of our 19 offices so I would have the knowledge necessary to lead the firm when I took over Jan. 1. During those meetings, we had a dialogue about what shape future growth at the firm should take. We have grown a lot in the last five or six years—by about 350 to 400 lawyers. I wanted to get feedback on whether the partnership wanted to pull back and emphasize certain core practice areas or continue that growth. We concluded that, one, growth has been very good for the firm; two, that we should continue to grow, and three, there are certain areas we should concentrate on. We’re currently in discussion on trends and legal practices that will be supporting growth. We haven’t announced which practices we’re growing yet.

Since January, I have been focusing mostly on the outward-facing roles, meeting clients and understanding their needs, trying to get a sense of what’s on their minds. I’ve also gone to each of our practice group retreats to talk over strategic plans and get feedback from each group.

Jackson Lewis to Lei Down the Law in Hawaii

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Jackson Lewis has decided to lei down the law with the opening of a new firm in Honolulu.

The firm, Jackson Lewis P.C., a Law Corporation, will operate as an affiliate of Jackson Lewis and will be manned by shareholders Andrew Pepper and Wayne Yoshigai, both members of the Hawaii State Bar Association. Pepper joined Jackson Lewis from Carlsmith Ball, which has offices in Hawaii, Los Angeles and Guam, while Yoshigai made the move from Hawaiian firm Torkildson, Katz, Moore, Hetherington & Harris.

According to New York-based Jackson Lewis, which specializes in labor and employment, its lawyers will provide consultative support to the Hawaiian affiliate, although they will be overseen by members of the state bar. (The Hawaiian counterpart will also focus on workplace law.)

Rather than opening a new office, Jackson Lewis established an affiliate as a result of a Hawaiian Supreme Court law that “required the incorporation of a subsidiary to come into Hawaii,” Pepper says. The firm’s soft opening was two months ago, with the official launch going live on Monday, he adds.

Jackson Lewis—which already has around 40 clients doing business in Hawaii, largely in the hospitality industry—had been considering branching into the market for the last three or four years, according to the firm’s chairman, Vincent Cino.

In the past, Jackson Lewis relied on other firms for local counsel in Hawaii;  now, client needs will be served directly by the affiliate, says Cino. Substantial travel time that even Jackson Lewis’ West Coast outposts had to endure will also be eliminated, he adds.

Both Pepper and Yoshigai note the benefits the Hawaiian affiliate will enjoy, citing the support and expertise of roughly 800 lawyers from Jackson Lewis, along with added resources available to existing clients.

“Hawaii has not traditionally been served by a national law firm … it is a benefit to the state of Hawaii to have this level of expertise [from Jackson Lewis] made available,” Pepper says.

In February, Jackson Lewis announced another expansion—albeit much closer to home—with its 56th office to be located in Red Bank, New Jersey. The move was facilitated by the hire of five lawyers from New Jersey firm Giordano, Halleran & Ciesla.

“Jackson Lewis has expanded a lot in recent years—it enters markets to serve clients as closely as possible,” Pepper says.

Cino says that while the affiliate is currently composed of just Pepper and Yoshigai, the firm’s other openings with one or two lawyers have expanded to more.

How to Maximize Your LinkedIn Profile to Find Potential Customers

In his book Success Secrets of the Online Marketing Superstars, Mitch Myerson introduces you to 22 innovators who have redefined the developing landscape of online marketing. Learn how to master proven strategies, avoid costly mistakes and grow your business. In this edited excerpt, contributing author and LinkedIn expert Viveka Von Rosen offers tips on creating a LinkedIn profile, then targeting your searches, to find your target market.

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Are you, like many professionals, still not convinced of the power of LinkedIn? Here are some stats that might change your mind:

  • LinkedIn is the number-one social network for driving traffic to corporate websites.
  • LinkedIn members are 50 percent more likely to engage with a company they engage with on LinkedIn.
  • LinkedIn drives more traffic to B2B blogs and sites than Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ combined.
  • Ninety-three percent of marketers rate LinkedIn as effective for generating leads.
  • Sixty-five percent of companies acquired B2B leads through LinkedIn.

Your first step to attracting prospects on LinkedIn is to create a powerful profile. Start with your Professional Headline — it’s the area right underneath your name, the 120 characters that describe who you are and what you do. Most people just have their “Title” at “Company” (because that’s LinkedIn’s default), but this is a great place for a tagline and a few keywords.

Because your picture, name and Professional Headline are usually what people see in most communications on LinkedIn, whether you’re responding to a group update, sending a message, inviting someone to connect or using the introduction feature, invest the time to make it engaging.

A lot of people skip the description field of their Experience section, but I’d strongly urge you not to. You have 1,000 characters in this area to plant your keywords. As you describe what you do and what your company does, these keywords are going to naturally settle right in. And with LinkedIn’s search algorithm, the description section of your Experience is more important than ever!

In the Background section of your profile, make sure to use the most of the 2,000-character Summary field to expound on who you are and what you do. Keep the Summary section customer-facing, by being clear on how what you do benefits your prospects.

The Interests section, found at the very bottom of your profile under Additional Information, is the only section on LinkedIn into which I recommend you blatantly dump your keywords. You have 1,000 characters to add both personal interests (hiking, biking, walking, judo) as well as the list of the keywords you use for SEO. Just paste in your list, and make sure you separate each keyword or keyword phrase with a comma so the words are searchable.

If you get the right keywords in these four sections, you have a much better chance of your profile showing up when someone does a search on them. Since LinkedIn actually drives more traffic than Google+ and Bing, you need to make sure that you, not your competition, are being found by your prospects.

Now let’s talk about the best ways to search and find prospects on LinkedIn.

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The Rules of Business Texting

In January, the Academy of Management released a study revealing that people who receive texts after work are generally angry about those communications. Yet texting and other forms of electronic communications are on the rise. So, when is it appropriate to text a colleague, and how can you reduce unwanted electronic communications outside of work hours?

Around three years ago, I decided that I was done taking unwanted calls; now, I don’t listen to voicemails at all. In fact, my voicemail says to “text me.” And because I recently offended someone with this stance, I decided to do a little bit of research and teach everyone what I’d learned.

TextingTexting a colleague generally depends on how casual your relationship is, what you’re texting the person about and what this person’s seniority level is. Texting is fairly personal. Indeed, our phones have become an extension of our personalities to some degree, and texting a form of direct messaging. The problem with texting, however, is that it can lose context. Consider the following rules of etiquette.

1. Texting your boss

Texting your boss has become increasingly necessary, especially when an issue is urgent or needs to be resolved quickly. When you do text, you should be communicating simple messages such as meeting times and places. Or text when the message requires an immediate response or requests a coffee meeting. Never text bad news about a contract, an important decisions (“Quitting. Sorry!”) or a message that includes abbreviations. Everything should be kept professional. Of course, you should always respond to any inquiries the boss texts to you.

If the manager is younger (under 35) and/or running a small business, texting language may be more colloquial. If you’re not sure, refer to your corporate communications policy.

2. Texting your team

In general, you should be cautious when texting team members. These messages may depend on age, gender, personal relationship and even hours. Everything you write might be relayed to other team members and to leadership. Screenshots can be taken of everything you write and passed on, then taken out of context. When in doubt, be professional.

Take into consideration your recipients’ relationship status and emotional state, and remember that texts lose context. These messages can also be misconstrued by your significant others and cause problems at home, even if they’re an inside joke.

Try not to text team members after working hours unless you have a personal relationship with them outside of work. If you feel like you want to text them about work after 5 pm, use email.

Texting your prospect 

This is a hotly debated topic in the sales community. Texting your prospect is dependent on the type of rapport you have, whether this individual has given permission and where in the sales process you are. Never cold-call through text messaging. Many people believe that text messaging is still a personal communication that requires urgent attention, and that texting people you’re soliciting business from when you don’t know them is considered gauche.

If, however, you have a good rapport with your prospect, texting during business hours can be appropriate if it’s about finding a meeting place, notifying this person that you are running late to a meeting, following up to a question or providing something of value. Being pushy about closing a deal using a text is not recommended.

Texting networking colleagues

For the most part, networking colleagues whom you’re exchanging business information with can be fair game. Starting with email is traditional, typically. But people who are networking may be excited about helping each another with business development. So this relationship often escalates to texting fairly quickly. Once again, your texting relationship depends on gender and age. Younger members of the same sex are more likely to find it appropriate.

How to encourage less texting

Is texting making you or your colleagues angry? Want to encourage fewer texts to your phone after hours? Here are some tips to decrease texts and keep your mobile phone free of business during your personal time:

  • Stop including your mobile phone on your business cards and Linkedin profile.
  • Convey your own communication policy in your email signature. Exclude your mobile phone and add a line specifically requesting, Please send all correspondence via email. 
  • Ask those contacting you to communicate only during business hours, and if they need to send you work, to send it only through email. Entrepreneurs and freelancers may forget that others aren’t working at their odd hours.
  • For major offenders, start using the Do Not Disturb feature on your cell phone during the weekends and evenings.

What rules do you have for texting people you do business with? Do they work and how do you apply them to your life? Please post your observations in the Comments section below.

Read More: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244453

How To Foster Good Mental Health In The Workplace

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The way employees think, feel, and behave can impact everything from productivity and communication to their ability to maintain safety. Promoting good mental health in the workplace could be one of the most important steps an employer could take to improve an organization.

Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues can cost employers a lot of money. In fact, the Center for Prevention and Health Services estimates that mental illness and substance abuse issues cost employers between $79 and $105 billion annually in indirect costs. Absenteeism, decreased productivity, and increased healthcare expenses are just a few of the ways mental health problems cost employers money.

Of course, the reasons for promoting good mental health stem beyond a company’s bottom dollar. Supporting employees in feeling their best also reduces suffering on an individual level and serves as a win-win situation for everyone. Despite the multitude of benefits of promoting good mental health, most workplaces do very little to prevent or address emotional problems.

Here are three ways employers can promote good mental health in the workplace:

1. Create a Healthy Environment

While biology is certainly a factor in the development of mental illness, the environment also plays a large role. It’s important for employers to take a look at the lifestyle they’re promoting among workers. Expecting employees to work 80 hours a week or insisting people respond to work-related email from home are just a few of the things that can interfere with an employee’s ability to build a natural buffer against workplace stress.

Since most people spend approximately one-third of their time at work, it it’s important to ensure the workplace is taking steps to promote good health. A few simple ways to foster a healthy environment include encouraging exercise, allowing for breaks where employees can socialize, and offering stress reduction workshops. Hiring a mental health professional to teach mindfulness or offering free access to a yoga class are just a few creative ways to bolster mental strength and develop resilience to mental health problems.

2. Help Workers Identify Mental Health Risks

Approximately one in four adults experience a diagnosable mental illness in any given year. Yet, many of them suffer in silence. Some people fail to recognize they’re experiencing a mental health issue. Instead, they may associate their symptoms with aging or assume that their problems are just a normal part of stress. Helping employees recognize their risk factors and symptoms is one of the simplest yet most effective ways for employers to help.
There are several ways business leaders can allow employees to access confidential mental health screenings. One way is to invite a mental health professional from the community to come into the office to provide free screenings. Employees can be given questionnaires that ask about their habits and symptoms. If the screening reveals a high likelihood a mental health issue, they can be referred for a complete assessment.

There are also free online screening tools that employees can be encouraged to access. Screenings can be completed in complete privacy and employees can be given immediate feedback about their results, as well as information about community resources that can assess and treat mental health problems.

3. Assist Employees in Addressing Mental Health Issues

Mental health issues are very treatable, so it’s essential that employees are supported in their attempts to seek help. Allowing an employee to attend weekly therapy appointments during business hours, for example, could prevent that employee from having to go out on disability due to serious depression. Creating policies that support emotional wellness and treatment can ensure that employees are able to perform at their best.

While most business leaders would never step over an employee suffering a heart attack, those same leaders often ignore employees who are clearly experiencing a mental health problem. Unfortunately, ignoring mental health issues only furthers the stigma. Educating managers on how to address employee mental health can ensure that employees feel safe to talk about their concerns and it will increase the likelihood that they’ll access available resources.

Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, a bestselling book that is being translated into more than 20 languages.

Read more at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/amymorin/2015/04/09/how-to-foster-good-mental-health-in-the-workplace/?ss=workforce-2020

Why Texting is the New Email in the Hiring Process

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Ben has been trying to fill a position at his company for almost a month. His biggest frustration is that it takes him an entire day to schedule an interview because he keeps playing phone-tag. It seems like every time he calls to schedule a job interview, his call goes straight to voicemail.

Based on a study conducted by Jobvite last November, of the 2,084 adults surveyed, 51 percent of people actively seeking a new job are currently employed. Unfortunately, answering a phone call to talk about an interview for new job while at the applicant’s current job is not always possible.

Has society reached a point where potential employers can start using text messages as a way of getting in contact with applicants? Yes, says a January report from Software Advice, which found that 43 percent of job seekers younger than 45 years old considered recruiters who use text messaging as professional.

The hiring process has changed. Not too long ago, online applications were not widely used. Now, with more adults using their phones throughout their job search, adding text messaging, when appropriate, is the next logical step. Here are five reasons implementing text messaging into the hiring process is not a waste of time:

1. Mobile phones are becoming invaluable assets in the job search.

Jobvite also found 47 percent of Millennials surveyed use mobile devices in their job search because it allows them to search for jobs almost anywhere.

More apps are being developed specifically for the job search. Users typically can send push notifications to themselves when there are new job leads. Text messages are essentially a business’s way of sending a push notification alerting the candidate that they are being considered for the next step in the hiring process.

Sending a text message to confirm the time and any directions the applicant may need when arriving for the interview can help eliminate confusion when they get to the office.

2. Nearly all adults have a cell phone.

Most cell phone plans now feature unlimited text messaging. The fear that a candidate may not be able to text is almost nonexistent. In January 2014, the Pew Research Center reported that 90 percent of adults have a cell phone.

Ben had reached out to April by email to request a sample of her writing. When she responded with her samples late on a Thursday, she mentioned she would be willing to give Ben additional samples should he need them but couldn’t check her personal email again until late Friday night.

Ben was impressed with her writing but felt the pieces were too similar. Instead of sending an email asking for a different writing sample, he sent April a text letting her know he was interested in seeing more of her work. She responded quickly and was able to send it during her lunch hour.

Had Ben sent an email instead of a text, he wouldn’t have been able to schedule an interview with April the same day and would have had to wait for her response the following week.

3. The number of connected devices is expected to grow.

As people become more dependent on their mobile devices, the likelihood of getting rid of a cell phone becomes highly unlikely. For now, the trend shows that people are only going to increase the number of mobile devices they own.

A study conducted by ABI Research on behalf of Verizon in February found that by 2020, the number of connected devices is expected to increase to 5.4 billion from 1.2 billion in 2015.

Many tablets now include texting capabilities. With the latest updates from Apple, iPad users are able to send and receive messages from their tablet. Android phone users can also download an app to their tablet that lets them send and receive texts from their regular phone number.

4. 1.3 billion smartphones were sold last year.

Top cell phone manufacturers release at least one new phone model every year. As brand loyalty grows, consumers have proven they will upgrade to the latest phone, even if the phone they use still works.

The International Data Corporation reported in February that 1.3 billion smartphones were sold worldwide in 2014. While some technology is here one minute and gone the next, smartphones are not likely to be a passing fad.

Something Ben should keep in mind throughout his hiring process is the access to Internet each candidate may have. Released in April, the Pew Research Center that 15 percent of people who own smartphones have limited access to the Internet outside of their phone.

If the main way applicants are in contact with Ben is by email, communication will move slowly. While making a phone call is usually effective, for a quick conversation, texting can be useful.

5. Software to safely text candidates is available.

Using software like TextRecruit, potential employers can text job candidates throughout the application process. TextRecruit tracks the average open and response rate so recruiters know when a candidate receives the text. This eliminates confusion during the waiting period from the time a recruiter attempts to contact a candidate to when they hear back.

TextRecruit allows people like Ben to not only schedule interviews and communicate individually with candidates, but also send mass texts about new openings within the company. If recruits are only looking for jobs when they have free time, Ben could sit and wait for candidates to eventually find his job posting. Instead, sending a text informs them there is an opening, and they can decide to proceed with the application process in a timely manner.

As always, one of the biggest hurdles to overcome with adopting any new technology is determining the risks associated with it. TextRecruit sets up a number that the text messages are sent from. Candidates will not be able to call the number back and will only be allowed to communicate via text. This will stop the over-eager applicants from following up on the application they submitted.

Read More at: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244630

How to Start a Conversation With Strangers at a Networking Event

One of the best ways for entrepreneurs to socialize with colleagues, customers and potential clients is at networking events. Corporate gatherings, conferences, happy hours and cocktail parties provide an opportunity for you to meet new people and reconnect with old acquaintances.

However, if you have difficulty mingling in a room full of strangers, connecting with other professionals can be a difficult and uncomfortable process. Regardless of how you feel, networking is undeniably an effective way to meet people who can provide new opportunities and help you grow your business.

Many entrepreneurs regularly attend networking events, but few study or practice effective networking. The more practiced you become at starting conversations with strangers, the less anxious you’ll be. Your confidence will attract others and help you become much more than just another business card.

To become a master mingler, employ these tips at the next networking event you attend.

Hone your public speaking skills.

Conversations require just as much speaking ability as a presentation. Practice your skills whenever you can. Take a public speaking class or join a Toastmasters club in your area. When you feel prepared, give presentations at industry meetings or offer to give a guest lecture at a local community college or university.

HandshakeStart with a handshake.

The type of handshake you extend to a stranger speaks volumes about you and your intentions. When you approach someone new at a networking event, start your conversation with a firm handshake. As you greet the individual, make eye contact, smile, extend your hand and introduce yourself. This nonverbal communication will help you build rapport before you even say a word.

Win the name game.

Remembering names is an essential skill in conversations. When others hear you say their name, it makes them feel more connected to you. If you’ve just met someone for the first time, use his name frequently in conversation. When you forget a name, simply extend your hand and say your own name. The other person will most likely introduce himself in return.

Show interest.

Many entrepreneurs use a popular but ineffective approach while networking. Instead of building relationships, they collect and hand out as many business cards as they can. To form professional connections, approach new acquaintances with a genuine interest in their businesses, opinions and hobbies. When you initiate the conversation, ask open-ended questions to show your sincerity.

Introduce

Ask a connector for help.

A personal introduction is a winning strategy to start conversations at networking events. If you’re a first-timer at an event and nervous, ask the host or an influential contact to introduce you to others. Most people will gladly introduce you to other entrepreneurs in the room.

Give a sincere compliment.

Everyone is happy to receive a compliment, even from a new connection. Use what you know about the person to choose the best accolade. It’s advisable to compliment someone on his or her business accomplishments or talents. Compliment a physical attribute only when you don’t have anything else to go on. You could say something like, “You look very sharp in that blazer.”

Share opportunities.

Use networking events as a way to tithe your social and professional capital. Seek out entrepreneurs in different industries. When you start a conversation, ask industry-specific questions. Invite the person to share her opinion and then communicate your perspective. Always be on the lookout for potential partnerships and other business opportunities. Train your ears to hear problems so you can present solutions.

Learn to tell a story.

The best way to form connections in networking conversations is by telling your story. Everyone has a story to tell. To discover the other person’s story, ask the right questions. You could say something like, “Who is a special person in your life who influenced who you are today?” It’s a personal question and will help others to open up.

Read more: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244553

The Do’s and Don’ts for Taking the Perfect LinkedIn Profile Picture

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Never underestimate the value of a profile picture on LinkedIn. How you choose to present yourself in that tiny square says, if not necessarily a thousand words, certainly quite a bit to potential employers, partners and clients. Yes, your resume is important, but as with any real-world encounter, it’s the photo that makes that crucial first impression.

Despite this, LinkedIn is littered with terrible, embarrassing, poorly lit and composed profile pictures. By this point, LinkedIn’s career expert Catherine Fisher and professional photographer Donald Bowers have seen a wide variety of violations.

Here, they share a few do’s and don’ts.

Do have a profile picture.

This seems so obvious but there are people who still use the LinkedIn default blue silhouette, and that’s a problem says Fisher. The simple act of adding a photo increases your visibility on LinkedIn by a factor of 14, so if you’ve gone to the trouble of making a LinkedIn account, there’s no excuse not to upload a photo.

Don’t forget the context.

LinkedIn is a platform for professionals, so unless you are a veterinarian, never include your pet, Fisher says. She sees far too many dogs and cats on the site, along with this repeat offender: photos marred by the intrusion of seemingly disjointed limbs, the casualty of aggressive cropping. And unless you are a swimsuit model, “don’t take a photo of yourself in your bikini,” Fisher says. “Please. Let’s keep it professional.”

Do think about the lighting.

If you can’t afford to spring for a professional, have a friend photograph you, first setting up the light source to his or her immediate left or right, Bowers says. As opposed to a direct flash, which tends to “flatten and wash you out,” side lighting will provide a more modeled look. While Bowers recommends shooting LinkedIn profile pictures indoors against either a grey or white background, if you are going for an outdoor shot avoid midday, when the overhead light creates problematic shadows.

Don’t be too formal or informal.

Not everyone’s LinkedIn picture should look the same. While headshots work for most professions, it’s important to tailor your picture’s style to the type of job you are applying for. “Ask yourself, ‘what would the people at that company be wearing?’” Fisher says. The answer to that will vary widely, depending on both the industry and the company.

Do consider hiring a professional photographer.

A professional headshot is an investment, one that can often be used for up to five years, says Bowers. He typically charges $200 for a one-hour session, although group rates often apply. You’re not just paying for the lighting and composition, however. After the photo session, Bowers will retouch one headshot. Stress and sleep deprivation are things “that happen to us all,” but with some subtle airbrushing, Bowers can minimize splotchy skin and eye bags. “You can fake. I can fix it up,” he says reassuringly.  Retouching “helps a lot. It can make you look five years younger. And for a first impression…that can sometimes be very important.”

Read More: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/244764

12 Things Truly Confident People Do Differently

cheerful confident young business woman

Confidence takes many forms, from the arrogance of Floyd Mayweather to the quiet self-assurance of Jane Goodall. True confidence—as opposed to the false confidence people project to mask their insecurities—has a look all its own.

When it comes to confidence, one thing is certain: truly confident people always have the upper hand over the doubtful and the skittish, because they inspire others and they make things happen.

I think Henry Ford said it best:

 Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.

Ford’s notion that your mentality has a powerful effect upon your ability to succeed is manifest in the results of a recent study at the University of Melbourne where confident people went on to earn higher wages and get promoted more quickly than anyone else.

Learning to be confident is clearly important, but what is it that truly confident people do that sets them apart from everyone else?

I did some digging to uncover the 12 cardinal habits of truly confident people, so that you can incorporate these behaviors into your repertoire.

1. They Get Their Happiness From Within

Happiness is a critical element of confidence, because in order to be confident in what you do, you have to be happy with who you are.

People who brim with confidence derive their sense of pleasure and satisfaction from their own accomplishments, as opposed to what other people think of their accomplishments. They know that no matter what anyone says, you’re never as good or bad as people say you are.

2. They Don’t Pass Judgment

Confident people don’t pass judgment on others because they know that everyone has something to offer, and they don’t need to take other people down a notch in order to feel good about themselves. Comparing yourself to other people is limiting. Confident people don’t waste time sizing people up and worrying about whether or not they measure up to everyone they meet.

3. They Don’t Say Yes Unless They Really Want To

Research conducted at the University of California in San Francisco shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression. Confident people know that saying no is healthy and they have the self-esteem to make their no’s clear. When it’s time to say no, confident people avoid phrases like “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” They say no with confidence because they know that saying no to a new commitment honors their existing commitments and gives them the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.

4. They Listen More Than They Speak

People with confidence listen more than they speak because they don’t feel like they have anything to prove. Confident people know that by actively listening and paying attention to others, they are much more likely to learn and grow. Instead of seeing interactions as opportunities to prove themselves to others, they focus on the interaction itself, because they know this is a far more enjoyable and productive approach to people.

explaining5. They Speak With Certainty

It’s rare to hear the truly confident utter phrases like, “Um,” “I’m not sure,” and “I think.” Confident people speak assertively because they know that it’s difficult to get people to listen to you if you can’t deliver your ideas with conviction.

6. They Seek Out Small Victories

Confident people like to challenge themselves and compete, even when their efforts yield small victories. Small victories build new androgen receptors in the areas of the brain responsible for reward and motivation. The increase in androgen receptors increases the influence of testosterone, which further increases their confidence and eagerness to tackle future challenges. When you have a series of small victories, the boost in your confidence can last for months.

7. They Exercise

A study conducted at Eastern Ontario Research Institute found that people who exercised twice a week for 10 weeks felt more competent socially, academically, and athletically. They also rated their body image and self-esteem as being higher. Best of all, physical changes in their bodies were not responsible for the uptick in confidence. It was the immediate, endorphin-fueled positivity from exercise that made all the difference.

8. They Don’t Seek Attention

People are turned off by those who are desperate for attention. Confident people know that being yourself is much more effective than trying to prove that you’re important. People catch on to your attitude quickly and are more attracted to the right attitude than what—or how many people—you know. And confident people always seem to bring the right attitude.

Confident people are masters of attention diffusion. When they’re being given attention for an accomplishment, they quickly shift the focus to all the people who worked hard to help get them there. They don’t crave the approval or praise because they draw their self-worth from within.

9. They Aren’t Afraid to be Wrong

Confident people aren’t afraid to be proven wrong. They like putting their opinion out there to see if it holds up, because they learn a lot from the times they are wrong and other people learn from them when they’re right. Self-assured people know what they are capable of and don’t treat being wrong as a personal slight.

10. They Stick Their Neck Out

When confident people see an opportunity they take it. Instead of worrying about what could go wrong they ask themselves, “What’s stopping me? Why can’t I do that?” And they go for it. Fear doesn’t hold them back because they know that if they never try they will never succeed and failure is just a great way to learn.

skd183347sdc11. They Celebrate Other People

Insecure people constantly doubt their relevance and because of this they try to steal the spotlight and criticize others in order to prove their worth. Confident people, on the other hand, aren’t worried about their relevance because they draw their self-worth from within. Instead of insecurely focusing inward, confident people focus outward, which allows them to see all of the wonderful things that other people bring to the table. Praising people for their contributions is a natural result of this.

12. They Aren’t Afraid To Ask For Help

Confident people know that asking other people for help won’t make them seem weak or unintelligent. They know their strengths and weaknesses and they look to others to fill the gaps. They also know that learning from someone with more expertise is a great way to improve.

Bringing It All Together

Building confidence is a journey, not a destination. Please share your thoughts on the matter in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

Read More at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/travisbradberry/2015/04/01/12-things-truly-confident-people-do-differently/2/