How Best to Entertain Your Clients


Forget ubiquitous golf outings and cocktail hour. Everyone does that. If you want to wow your customers and prospects, you need to do something more than give them the same tickets to the same ball games that everyone is giving them. The key here isn’t more money, though. It’s about better thinking and more creative entertainment opportunities.

Do you have a favorite bar or restaurant? A place where you know “everybody” up to and including the owner? If so, it can make a massive impression on your client when you walk in and are greeted like Norm at Cheers. Then, for good measure, ask the server to bring the owner over to the table and introduce that owner to your client. But, before you try this move, make sure the owner will be there. Trying this when they are gone just ends up looking awkward.

Connect even when you are not connecting. One of the worst mistakes you can make in this scenario is to assume you have to be present to make an impression. Sending a gift is a great way to put your business or brand front and center for your prospect. Just make sure it’s memorable and customized for them.

Never come empty handed. This ties into the previous point, but it’s an “always” guideline rather than a sometimes thing. When you are planning to meet someone, make it a point to bring them something. This engages an exchange and makes your prospect more likely to respond in kind.

Do something off the wall. Do you know if your prospect is a beer guy or a wine enthusiast? Take them out to a brewery or winery. Use the tour as an opportunity to talk business in a more relaxed setting where your client is more likely to let their guard down. This can also work if your client likes to sail or fish or hunt. You get the idea. Make it about THEM and not about the deal. That’s always the best way to go.

And, instead of just going out to be seen, make a point to introduce that client to someone else with influence or name recognition. After that introduction, your prospect will always connect your name with that famous name lending you increased credibility.

Hopefully those ideas got your creative juices flowing because these are just the tip of the iceberg. There are endless methods you can use to connect with your customers without ever doing the same thing everyone else is. So, what’s your favorite way to connect?

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How To Replace All The Binders In Your Law Office – A Pictorial Walk Through

A few months ago, one of my favorite programs went completely free. I’ve been using OneNote since about 2003 when it came out. It has completely replaced my note-taking system. I have not taken a note on a yellow legal pad in years. I’ve talked to a lot of people, and not very many really understand OneNote or have ever heard of it. So, here’s how I use it in my legal practice. I’m going to show you how to replace trial binders with digital trial binders that hold more information and organize it better.

As far as a note-taking system, it’s far superior to paper. I was using OneNote in law school. I went to school in the evening, worked full-time in a big law firm during the day, and had two small kids, so I wasn’t always as energetic as some of my classmates. Every lecture, I turned on OneNote, plugged in my USB microphone, and set OneNote to record the lectures. My notes then synced up with the lecture. So, later, I could go back and click on a note and it would play back the portion of audio that was being recorded as I wrote that note. Needless to say, I had a lot of notes that said, “Everyone is writing something down – rewind 10 seconds and see what the professor just said.” You can do the same thing in deposition (check your state rules on audio recording depos). Audio record a depo and make notes — “Just admitted liability” or “Check this at break vs. actual documents and follow up.” There is also a feature to add a timestamp to your notes. So, if someone says something important, I can timestamp it in my notes and go back to that part in the video later back at the office to make a clip out of that part.

It’s an even more powerful tool if you have a device with an active stylus, such as a Surface Pro, a Windows 8 tablet, or a Samsung Note phone. It makes it easier to take notes. A lot of the styluses are set up so that the back end of them works as an eraser in OneNote. If you have a Surface Pro 3, you’ll notice that the back of the stylus has a purple button. That button opens OneNote and adds a blank page to start taking notes.

I use it for trial binders and to organize my cases as I work them up. I have all of my information with me at my fingertips all the time. OneNote syncs up with iPads, iPhones, Android phones, and home computers if you have your workbooks set to sync. You can also collaborate with others by sharing workbooks, so everyone has access to team meeting notes or the group to do list. As I mentioned before, if I am in a deposition with someone else from my team and we both have a shared OneNote workbook open and are connected to the internet, I can take a note and it will appear seconds later on the other person’s screen. So, it’s a great way to pass notes during a depo as well.

Here are some examples of how to set up OneNote for a trial binder, but you can really use it to replace any notes or binder system in your office for any stage of litigation once you get down the basics.

The Basics

OneNote is set up as a digital binder. So, here’s the interface:


I’ve created a fictional case here. Where it says “Smith Case” in the upper left, that’s called a Workbook. If I click that drop down arrow, I can see other workbooks that I have saved. The tabs across the top where it says “Record Review, Depo Prep, Trial Prep, Team Meetings, and Notes” — those are sections. Think of those like tabs in a notebook. Then, on the far right, I have my pages within each tab.

Pasting Documents into OneNote for Review

OneNote has a variety of annotation tools that you can use to highlight or annotate your documents. If you drag and drop a file into a page, you get the option to either insert the file as a link or insert the file as a printout. If you insert it as a printout, as I did in the screenshot above, you can use the pen tools to draw all over your document. It also creates a link for me to open the original source document to see a clean copy:

pasting documents

You can take your notes in the margin or directly on top of the document. So, no more large stacks of documents with yellow post-its sticking out to the side.

Depo Prep

Here, I have a sample depo outline. One column for my questions, one for the exhibits I plan on using, and one for whether that document gets marked as a depo exhibit and which number it is. I can drag and drop my documents into the table and then open them and have quick access to all of my exhibits in a non-cluttered way.

depo prep

Trial Prep

You can do the same thing with witness examination outlines in trial. I can drag specific pages from a deposition or from an exhibit into my outline to have impeachment evidence ready without having a huge stack of papers that I need to shuffle through to make my point. It helps with flow and timing if you don’t have to adjust your pace to find that one page that proves the witness is lying.

trial prep

Meeting Notes

Not only can you take notes, but you can annotate and tag your notes. For example, here, I’ve taken some notes and an item for me has a tight deadline, so I click and drag over the note and right click and I get an option to add that note to my Outlook task list with a pop up reminder.


Note also that I handwrote the title of the note here as “10/14/2014,” and it recognized my handwriting and put that as the name of the page on the right.

I can also add various tags to notes or documents. Up at the top, where it says “To Do” or “Important” is a list of tags. I can add an “important” tag to a note or in the margin of a document and then use the button to find all tags and filter search results to only show me important items or only show me to do list items:

find tags

to do list

Export to OneNote

One you install OneNote, you’ll get a menu option when you right click on things to send them to OneNote. Outlook has a built-in button at the top to send an email to OneNote. When you click that, you have the option to choose where you want to send it:


Exporting From OneNote

Once a case is over, you can archive your notebook as a PDF. I used this feature a few years ago when I got an email from an appellate attorney who was doing the appeal on a murder case I worked on. I was actually in another trial and she asked me if I still had any notes from trial. She got the trial transcript, but it was a 9-week trial and the transcript was several thousand pages. On a break, I opened up my workbook for that case, exported it as a PDF, and emailed her my daily notes from the examination of 60+ witnesses from a case I had worked on a year earlier.

OneNote is completely free. If you don’t already have it as part of your Office suite, get it at

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Running A Small Sophisticated Practice To Do What Big Firms Can Do

Excellent non-Biglaw firm litigators can represent almost any client, of any size, in any matter, anywhere in the world, at least as well as so-called Biglaw. But law firm managers need to run their firms right to make this happen.

Ever since at least the financial crisis of 2007 and beyond, it’s become commonplace to say that big law firms are on the decline and smaller firms are on the up and up. As someone fortunate enough to be a manager and partner at a boutique law firm, this, of course, sounds great. Let’s get those great cases that, at one time, only the bigger firms could handle.

But saying it does not make it so. Management matters. A great small firm can provide all the service of a huge firm in virtually all litigation matters (and provide the benefits of a smaller shop), as long as the small firm manages its resources – people, technology, and even small size – in the right way. And lawyers will need to assure the clients that their needs are being addressed.

(One important note: while I try to write this column to apply to any law office, private or public, litigation or transactional, here I can only write about boutique litigation firms. I suspect a lot of what I write here applies to our transactional colleagues, but do not have the experience to comment adequately.)


Any litigator knows that above a minimal level, the amount of damages in question will not matter for how, in the ideal, a litigation should be handled. I’ve found that there’s often not a tremendous amount of difference in the number of witnesses or amount of actual, needed evidence involved in a dispute of $50,000, $500,000, $5 million, or even $50 million.

Sure, there are more documents in bigger cases and everyone is willing to spend more money – better experts, better adversaries, and so forth. But the actual facts in dispute and actual relevant law and actual evidence that really matters can look very similar across disputes with very different sought-after damages.

This means that most disputes should be handled by a small team – two to three primary lawyers and one to two non-lawyer professionals like legal analysts or paralegals. That’s it. You absolutely will have others jump in during busy times. And non-team members are the best for proofreading filings and to act as devil’s advocates. But even the biggest matter can be handled by a small team and, indeed, should be. This is why a small law office can handle a monstrous matter typically reserved for a large law firm.

When you have a large document review, though, you often need outside help. But it’s there. You don’t need 100 associates on staff jumping from document review project to document review project. There are companies that do this all the time at least in part because, unfortunately, there are way too many lawyers on the street without steady law office jobs. The reviewers that do this all the time are quite good and will save your clients money.

But coordinating a small sophisticated practice requires mindful management. Managers need to ensure the teams are composed of the right number of senior lawyers, the right number of non-senior lawyers, and others. The non-lawyers need adequate daily supervision. And a manager needs to step in to determine when to get that outside help like those reviewers, or to tap into the network of colleagues to discuss the matter.


The legal technology world is a different planet than it was ten years ago, even five. Smaller firms can use litigation support technology to leverage their size, maintaining truly paperless filing systems, keyword-searching documents rather than employing more staff to search and organize, and maintaining security and backups with relatively inexpensive programs. Technology also allows smaller firms to do a lot of that document review I just mentioned through use of in-house IT.

But, again, managers need to be mindful when selecting that technology. Not all programs are alike. I’ve learned that no matter what the promises of the salespeople, many programs have kinks that will always need to be worked out. And programs do not take the place of thoughtful organization or creativity.


Smaller law firms are lean, have enormously more camaraderie, and generally have far better and more diversely experienced (and, thus, simply better) staff.

But small law firms do not have lots of bodies. Managers must be thoughtful on at least a weekly and, more likely, daily basis about how staff and resources are used so all matters are handled as they should be.

Simply considering some examples: junior staff need to know how to handle it when they have too many assignments; lawyers need to know how to supervise non-lawyers daily; all staff need to know how to share documents and information, including deadlines.

The solutions to these and related small-firm management concerns regarding people, technology, small size, and more are too many to address in any depth here. What I want to be clear on is that boutique firms provide huge benefits – both to clients with large-scale disputes, and for the staff that work in service to those clients. At the same time, boutique firm managers must also be aware of the special needs and pitfalls of not having 100 people around to handle anything that comes up, or, in most cases, decades or a century of history behind the current firm.

When managed right, boutique firms are just as effective as Biglaw.

John Balestriere is an entrepreneurial trial lawyer who founded his firm after working as a prosecutor and litigator at a small firm. He is a partner at trial and investigations law firm Balestriere Fariello in New York, where he and his colleagues represent domestic and international clients in litigation, arbitration, appeals, and investigations. You can reach him by email at

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10 Skills That Are Hard to Learn But Pay Off Forever


The best things in life may be free, but that doesn’t mean they won’t take time, sweat, and perseverance to acquire.

That’s especially the case when it comes to learning important life skills.

In an effort to ascertain which talents are worth the investment, one Quora reader posed the question: What are the hardest and most useful skills to learn?

We’ve highlighted our favorite takeaways.

1. Time management

Effective time management is one of the most highly valued skills by employers. While there is no one right way, it’s important to find a system that works for you and stick to it, Alina Grzegorzewska explains.

“The hardest thing to learn for me was how to plan,” she writes. “Not to execute what I have planned, but to make a to-do list and to schedule it so thoroughly that I’m really capable of completing all the tasks on the scheduled date.”

2. Empathy

“You can be the most disciplined, brilliant, and even wealthy individual in the world, but if you don’t care for or empathize with other people, then you are basically nothing but a sociopath,” writes Kamia Taylor.

Empathy, as business owner Jane Wurdwand explains, is a fundamental human ability that has too readily been forsworn by modern business.

“Empathy — the ability to feel what others feel — is what makes good sales and service people truly great. Empathy as in team spirit — esprit d’corps — motivates people to try harder. Empathy drives employees to push beyond their own apathy, to go bigger, because they feel something bigger than just a paycheck,” she writes.

3. Mastering your sleep

There are so many prescribed sleep hacks out there it’s often hard to keep track. But regardless of what you choose, establishing a ritual can help ensure you have restful nights.

Numerous studies show that being consistent with your sleep schedule makes it easier to fall asleep and wake up, and it helps promote better sleep in general.

4. Positive self-talk

“Ultimately it doesn’t matter what others think of you,” writes Shobhit Singhal, “but what you think of yourself certainly does, and it takes time to build that level of confidence and ability to believe in yourself when nobody else does.”

On the other side of positive self-talk is negative self-talk, which Betsy Myers, founding director of The Center for Women and Business at Bentley University, believes can slowly chip away at your confidence.

5. Consistency

Whether you’re trying a new exercise routine, studying for the LSATs, or working on an important project, Khaleel Syed writes that consistency is vital to maintaining any kind of success.

People often stop working hard when they reach the top, he explains, but to maintain that top position, they have to work harder and be more consistent in their work.

6. Asking for help

“I once was told in a job interview, ‘You can’t have this job if you can’t ask for help when you need it,'” Louise Christy writes. “Naturally, I said I could. Later, I found out that the previous person with that job had screwed up big-time because he was in over his head but couldn’t admit it and didn’t ask for help.”

She explains that knowing when you need help and then asking for it is surprisingly difficult to learn and do because no one wants to be perceived as weak or incompetent.

But a recent study from the Harvard Business School suggests doing so makes you look more, not less, capable. According to the study authors, when you ask people for advice, you validate their intelligence or expertise, which makes you more likely to win them over.

7. Knowing when to shut up — and actually doing it

“You can’t go around whining about every other thing that seems not-so-right to you in this world,” writes Roshna Nazir. “Sometimes you just need to shut up.”

There are many instances when keeping to yourself is the best course. “When we are angry, upset, agitated, or vexed,” writes Anwesha Jana, “we blurt out anything and everything that comes to our mind.” And later, you tend to regret it.

Keeping your mouth shut when you’re agitated is one of the most valuable skills to learn, and of course, one of the most difficult.

8. Listening

Along with shutting up comes listening, says Richard Careaga.

“Most of us in the workplace are so overwhelmed with things to do — instant messaging, phones ringing. I mean, our brain can only tolerate so much information before it snaps,” Nicole Lipkin, author of “What Keeps Leaders Up At Night,” previously told Business Insider.

One tip for active listening is repeating back what you heard to the other person. “It makes things so much easier when everyone is on the same page,” she said.

9. Minding your business

“It takes ages to learn and master this,” writes Aarushi Ruddra.

Sticking your nose into other people’s work isn’t helpful and wastes time and resources, she says. “You have no right to put forth your two or four cents, even if you are the last righteous person standing.”

10. Mastering your thoughts

To do what you want to do and accomplish what you want to accomplish, you need to consciously direct your thinking, writes Mark Givert.

“The challenge is that we are the product of our past experience and all of our thinking is the result of this,” he says. “However, the past does not equal the future.”

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Did You Know These 10 Famous People Were Also Lawyers?

By; Joe Patrice

Okay, you probably know about a couple of these. But some are genuine surprises. Howard Cosell? He went to NYU Law? He was even — under his original name “Cohen” — on law review! How did that never come up while I was there?

This infographic comes courtesy of Online Paralegal Programs, an Internet-based repository of information to help students looking to enter the paralegal field. Fun infographic.

celebrity lawyers

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6 Warning Signs For When Not To Take On A Client

By: Gary Ross

Wrong Way Sign

Last week I talked about how in SmallLaw you are essentially betting on your clients. That the client is relatively sane, that their situation is at least somewhere in the ballpark of how they described it, that they’re not wrapped up in something that’s going to suck up all your time with no payoff. Sometimes you just know right away it’s someone to avoid. If the person is super-intense and believes he’s the subject of an assortment of conspiracies he wants you to help fight, you know that’s someone to refer to that frenemy from law school who never gave you that hard copy of your outline back.

But sometimes upon first impression the person seems normal, and you don’t find out until later they’re nuttier than a port-o-potty at a peanut festival. And everyone has different sides to them. Think about that partner that no one wants to work with, yet the guy keeps bringing in client after client. He’s probably not doing it by treating prospective clients like he treats associates.

Though often you just don’t know until you’re already knee-deep in the representation, here are some red flags signaling when it might be better to pass on a certain prospective client.

Easy Money. The prospective client who has prepared all the documentation for you, and they just need you to sign something, usually more or less immediately. This comes up a lot with legal opinions. They won’t ask a big firm to do it, but they’ll try to find a small firm or a solo who will sign a document without asking too many questions. It’ll be some kind of hard to understand business model involving overseas affiliates, and they need legal opinions, or someone to act as a nominee director, or something of that ilk. I’ll respond back with a list of questions and documents I need to see first, and then I’ll never hear from them again. Good riddance!

No Money

No Money. The ones who want free work in exchange for “invaluable” referrals. Basically, the Groupon/Living Social crowd always looking for the next deal. If a person or company had good connections/members to begin with, they could afford legal fees, and if they can’t, maybe their mailing list isn’t worth you spending the time doing legal work for them.

Changing the Money. To me, it’s a red flag if I meet with someone face-to-face or talk with at length over the phone and we come to an agreement on the fee arrangement, and then later—even after I’ve already prepared and sent out the engagement letter—I get an email from them wanting to change the terms of the engagement. If they’re doing this before we even get started, what are they going to be like on down the road when I’ve invested a lot of time and effort?

More Than One Driver. When it’s evident there is more than one person driving the train, each driver has a different destination in mind, and only one of the drivers is interested in engaging you. In every business there will be times when problems will arise, and on some occasions a business even has to make a choice between compliance and profitability. You could easily get ignored if you don’t have buy-in from all of the principals, and one of the last things you want is to be associated with a company doing something unethical. (Especially when you know it!)

The Drop Out. The clients who don’t return calls or emails. Often these are folks who have never hired an attorney before and suffer sticker shock the first bill they get. So then they start doing everything on their own and don’t return your calls or emails. But what’s going to happen when they do something wrong and they run afoul of a regulation or they’re stuck in a bad contract? It’ll be their attorney’s fault! And it’ll probably concern something you never even knew about. Admittedly, this one is talking about folks who are already clients. Still, it might be better to send an email, or least prepare a note to file, formally acknowledging your representation has been suspended pending contact with the client.

The Mystery Client. They won’t tell you how they got your name. Or they’re really vague about it or have an implausible story. Almost everyone I know who’s had a complaint filed against them, or has had negative feedback left on a public forum, had it done by a client who was not a referral or someone they had directly solicited, but rather a client who had found them out of the blue. I had a situation last year in which a client said they had found me on Avvo, which seemed odd, given that I haven’t really built up an Avvo presence. (My marketing tends to be more active.) Turned out they were trying to use me to run some kind of cross-border scam. (And when it didn’t work with me, they went on to trying it with Biglaw firms.)

I purposefully made these more than minor irritants. Any time people are involved there are going to be little pet peeves that are annoying. I’m sure my clients wouldn’t have any trouble coming up with a Top Ten list of Things That Annoy Me About Gary J. Ross (making the list: “He sends me emails at 2 a.m.”). For the most part I’ve tried to make these real issues.

One thing that’s not on the list: If they had problems with past attorneys. I used to think this too was a red flag. It stands to reason that if someone has had issues with their previous attorneys, the problem is probably them, no? (Like a person who can’t stay in a relationship, saying, “I sure know how to pick ‘em!”) But more and more I see examples of poor lawyering, whether it be shoddy work, demands for exorbitant fees, or the most common: lack of communication. Though I just made a list of potential client warning signs, people should really be given the benefit of the doubt when possible. That oddly intense computer programmer may have the government after him after all.

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5 Steps to Seriously Improve Your Networking Skills


No matter what profession you’re in, networking is the fuel that accelerates success. Not only is it useful for learning directly from individuals you meet, but the benefits of association and growing your own authority are just as powerful.

For some of us, the word networking can leave a bad taste in our mouths. Many of us aren’t sure where to start, what to say when we connect with someone or how to maintain that relationship. Although I truly believe there’s an art and science to networking and building authentic relationships, I’m going to distill what I’ve learned over the past few years. So, here is my no-BS guide to networking.

Stage 1: Mindset

Before you think about networking, remove the word “working” from your system. We hear people talking about putting on their “networking game,” and I can’t help but wonder how many showers they’ll need to take afterward to rid themselves of the inauthenticity. It’s likely that the people you’re trying to reach get approached by dozens, if not hundreds, of people just like you; and it’s not difficult for them to weed out the people who are “putting on a face.”

The best networking comes from genuine relationships, not a business card exchange. No matter whom you’re trying to build a relationship with, treating that person as a friend rather than a business contact will take you much further with the relationship. So, think about how you would approach a potential friend. Find something you have in common with, keep it light, make jokes, and above all, show that you care.

Stage 2: The destination

Doing something for the sake of doing it is rarely a good idea, nor is it a good use of your time. It’s the old analogy of having a fully gassed car without a final destination to head toward.

As many of you may already know, I’m a big believer in goal setting and focusing on pouring energy into accomplishing the stated goal. What is your dream job? How do you envision your future? What do you need to be doing to be the most fulfilled, happy and driven version of you? Write down what your goal is for five years from now. Then write down what goal you need to hit one year from now in order to get you closer to your five-year goal. Finally, write down what goal you need to hit 90 days from now in order to get you closer to your one-year goal.

For example: Let’s say your goal is to make $1 million in five years. You would need a vehicle, whether that is your own business, investments or something financially viable to get you to your destination. In this case, your goal one year from now might be to have your business launched and to hit $5,000 per month in sales.

So, what would you need to do in the next 90 days in order to hit $5,000 per month in your new business, one year from now? It might be finding the right partner with a complementary skill sets, or acquiring your first paying customer in the next 90 days.

5-year goal: Make $1 million
1-year goal: Hit $5,000/month ($60,000 per year) in sales with new business
90-day goal: Get your first paying customer

Now, it’s time to write down your goals. Yes, physically write them!

Stage 3: The map


Now that you have your final destination for five years from now, including focused, short-term goals to get you there, design your map. Keith Ferrazzi has a powerful strategy called the Networking Action Plan (NAP), which he explains in Never Eat Alone, to connect your networking strategy with your goals.

Step 1 is to write down your goals and final destination (which you completed in Stage 2). Step 2 is to look at the three goals you have written down. Then, next to each of your goals, write down three people who will either kickstart or accelerate your goal. These could be people you are already connected with, who are second-degree connections from you, or people you have no connections to.

Examples of who your top 3 could be include mentors or advisors, clients who will advocate for you, investors who believe in your vision, team members who may be co-founders or key hires, a boss or manager who could propel you to a raise or strategic position within your organization or superconnectors that will connect you with any of the above, to build your network.

If you’re looking to start a company, the three people could be a potential partner, an investor and a potential client. For a best-selling book, the three could be your agent, promotional partners or editor.

It’s important to invest some time doing thorough research to be confident that the three people are essential in helping you accomplish your goals faster.

Stage 4: Building a human connection

Hw do you foster a real connection when you speak with someone — whether it’s on Skype or on the phone or in-person? Personally, I think it boils down to these factors:

  • Ask insightful questions (to get the other person thinking). You can know a lot about a person by the quality of the questions he or she asks. Tony Robbins often shares that the quality of your questions correlates to the quality of your life.
  • Ask better questions, receive better answers. Peter Thiel challenges us to ask ourselves: “How do we accomplish our 10-year goals in six months?” By asking better questions when you’re speaking with someone, you not only put yourself in a category of someone that thinks differently, but you force the other person to think in a new way that helps him or her grow.
  • Pay attention (as if your life depended on it). This may come naturally for some people, or be extremely difficult for others. In our smartphone era, paying attention is a demanded “skill” many of us lack. How many times have you spoken with someone who is constantly fidgeting, looking around or interrupting your every sentence? By simplying maintaining eye contact, listening attentively and responding with relevant questions, you’re separating yourself from the rest of the pack and are well on your way to fostering a genuine relationship.

Listen. Ask good questions. Repeat.

Stage 5: Superconnecting

The fastest way to grow your own network is to introduce two people who can benefit from each another. As simple as this strategy sounds, it’s one you hardly see most people do. When’s the last time someone deliberately went out of his or her way to introduce you to someone after listening to your struggles? If you’re the rare breed that has experienced this, you’ve met a superconnector.

With over three billion people online today, it’s increasingly difficult to separate the fog from the light, and the role of superconnectors will become increasingly important to make that distinction. Here are few of the most powerful ways to become a superconnector yourself.

  • Don’t keep score. This is by far the key difference between superconnectors and everyone else. Superconnectors have an abundance mentality, and they’re always willing to give, connect and share.
  • Make friends, not “contacts.” In other words, value quality over quantity. Put away your business cards, and form genuine friendships with people you meet. I force myself to never talk about business in the first encounter with someone, unless I have to. It’s 10 times more valuable to develop connections with five quality people at an event than 50 “contacts” whose names you won’t remember.
  • Connect other superconnectors. Do you know two connectors who could benefit from meeting? Have they already met? Introducing two superconnectors will be the easiest connection you make because: They are naturally friendly and most likely will have friends in common. And you’ll not only help others further their goals, but will come to mind for them, for future potential connections that will benefit you.
  • Interview people. This may be one of the fastest ways to grow your network, if done strategically. You could do this in the context of a research paper, book or, my personal favorite, a podcast. I’ve been fortunate enough to connect with the likes of Eric RiesAdam Braun, Jason Fried, Gary Vaynerchuk and others who would have been difficult to connect with had I not started #SKIM Live.
  • Follow-up. This is the missing step we all forget to do. But following up to see how the introduction went, or randomly following up a few months later with no agenda will not only help you maintain your connections, but foster the relationship to a different level. In a world of take take take, being able to show that you care about someone as a friend will put you in a whole different category with any of your connections.

Can you think of someone you need to follow up with right now?

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6 Tips on How to Find a Job in China

China Road

“How do I get started in China?” was a recurring question I recently encountered when I lectured on global entrepreneurism at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business. And the process for doing just that — finding a job in China — may understandingly seem intimidating for many aspiring young global business people.

But there are definitely resources out there for getting started. Here are six.

1. Networking events

Use your own network to build an even bigger network through Asia-specific networking events like these “meetups” in New York City. Few of us enjoy networking. It’s hard to walk up to strangers and make that awkward first introduction. However, networking can be your best friend.

Some of my most important contacts and largest corporate customers have come from networking events. The key is to know that everyone else feels as awkward as you do and that realistically you have nothing to lose except an hour or two of your life. You have a lot to gain — in this case a potential job in China.

2. LinkedIn

This is digital networking at its finest. LinkedIn Premium for job seekers is an amazing tool. We use it for sales but I know that many of our Fortune 500 customers utilize it for recruitment purposes. LinkedIn grants access to HR and recruiters that job seekers are not otherwise allowed to contact.

The website also offers short tips on how to get noticed, get an interview and ultimately get the job or internship you’re looking for. If you can’t afford premium, find and join large groups that are internationally focused or China specific. Start discussions, ask how to get started in China. You’ll be surprised by how many people are willing to help. That being said, however, you’ll need to be persistent.

3. Chinese university programs

Many Chinese universities offer one-semester business-school certificate courses. These usually focus on Chinese business and culture and cover law, finance, marketing, sales and management. We have developed a Business & Language course in conjunction with Shanghai Normal University. The course lasts one semester but includes a language component in addition to Chinese business training.

These types of programs are a great avenue to Chinese business for those who may not be able to get a job right away. Once in China, building a network there is the key to finding a long-term career.

4. AmCham China, Shanghai Expat, Asia Expat

All of these sites have job listings. The most legitimate are found on AmCham China, a one-stop shop for job-seekers, internship seekers and anyone interested in doing business in China. I have been a member of AmCham Shanghai for almost 10 years. This is where I learned to network, found my first Chinese school, got involved with charities and most importantly found some of my best employees.

Everything listed there is going to be a legitimate lead; companies that list are members of the chamber and have gone through a vetting process prior to posting these jobs. They will usually arrange your China visa and, depending on your role, will arrange housing and anything else you need.

5. Summer Internships

BRIC will be announcing an exciting new internship program in the coming weeks. There is a need for this in China, Shanghai in particular. Many of these programs exist; however, interns have said that the companies involved were “sketchy.”

The complaints vary, but two of the most common are that the programs do not disclose the company name prior to arrival in China and that the internships typically are not what the customer signed up for. A friend of mine signed up for a three-month summer internship two years ago. He was supposed to be working in finance directly for the CFO.

But when he arrived in Shanghai, his actual job was cold-calling expats. He was supposed to sell “wealth management” packages. These were at best bad products, and at worst illegal pyramid schemes. He quit very quickly, and that company no longer exists.

Sadly, this scenario is actually fairly common in China, so be careful. If you use an internship service outside of AmCham, make sure that it has a good track record and can put you in touch with students who have used the service in the past.

6. Tours

For whose who want to get their feet wet in China without actually committing to a three-to-four-month internship, there are other opportunities. My company currently offers two-week trips to Shanghai, Beijing, and Hangzhou as well as one to Shanghai and Yangshuo.

The first is business focused, the second has, first, an urban emphasis in Shanghai, and then an outdoors one in Yangshuo, the center of China’s mountain culture. We are not the only company doing trips that are both educational and fun. You can Google China tours and literally see thousands pop up. Trips like these are a great way to explore China and test the waters before making a longer commitment.

Regardless of what path you take to get to China, I suggest exploring the options. It was without a doubt the best decision I myself ever made. I would also recommend learning the language. When I left Shanghai for New York City, prior to building my own company, I knew that because of my knowledge of China and my ability to speak the language, I could get a great job anywhere.

The language has been like an insurance card in my back pocket. It is why I was successful in China, while other more talented people have failed. So, figure out how to get to China and see whether or not it’s right for you. It will change your life.

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Get Your Ego Out of the Way and Ask for Help When You Need It

Entrepreneurs are great at starting projects alone, but sometimes when we hit a bump in the road we don’t know which way to turn. That’s when we need some help.

Unfortunately, H-E-L-P is a four-letter word, both literally and emotionally. Some of us, believing it’s a sign of failure, hesitate to ask anyone for advice or assistance. We worry that we might inconvenience a friend or overstep a professional relationship. Other times, we don’t want to appear weak or needy.


Entrepreneurship is difficult at times and most business owners choose to do it alone. However, if you don’t ask for help, you deny your friends and colleagues the opportunity to assist you, which many of them would be delighted to do. Moreover, if you try to do everything and make every decision by yourself, you’ll stress out and burn out. It’s important to use the network you’ve built when you need it.

Here are five helpful hints on how to ask for help.

1. Acknowledge your need.

The greater the need, the more hesitancy most people feel before asking for help. Eliminate any hesitations you have. Your need doesn’t make you weak. Just because you could do it alone doesn’t mean you should. It’s unhealthy (and unproductive) to tough it out.

For example, writing a book is a huge endeavor most people are afraid to tackle because they don’t know how or where to start. Every time I write a book, I seek the advice of a writing coach who holds me accountable and helps me become a better writer. This person keeps me on track and helps me to reach my goals.

2. Continually build your network.

At some point along your business journey, you’ll need the support of other professionals. You might need a recommendation for website design, or some advice on how to assemble a board of directors for your new business. Build a network that will support you before you need it. Join professional organizations, serve on boards, volunteer your time, take colleagues to lunch. The more key connections you have, the more likely they’ll take the time to help you.

3. Flatter others.

Believe it or not, even the most successful among us struggles with self-doubt. Chances are, the person you reach out to will be flattered you asked them for help. It doesn’t always have to be someone you know personally. Last week, one of my loyal newsletter subscribers emailed me for advice. Though we’ve never met, she’d read my books and trusted me to point her in the right direction. I was glad she had the courage to reach out and I was happy to help.

4. Discover new business opportunities.

The next time you ask for help, you may discover a wonderful, unintended consequence. Business needs often lead to new opportunities through collaboration.

Let’s say you’d like to host a webinar, but your audience is small and you aren’t sure if your idea is worth the cost and effort. Instead of trying to do it yourself, contact someone in your network who holds webinars frequently and who has a good reputation and a substantial following. Through collaboration, you’re more apt to build that relationship and get exposure and experience. It never hurts to reach out and see what happens. The answer is always “no” if you don’t ask.

5. Learn to take advice.

Asking for help is hard enough, but taking someone’s advice can be an even harder challenge. Some new entrepreneurs feel defensive when they receive advice from more experienced professionals, especially if it’s unsolicited. Don’t be a know-it-all. That attitude is a quick path toward failure. Listen when others give you advice, then decide later if you want to take their advice. Those who care about your success will want to save you from experiencing the (typically costly) mistakes they made early in their careers.

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Achieved Your Goal? Reach for More.


There are certain truths about successful people. The first is that they’re always learning. The second is that they’re always reaching for more. Not in a greedy way, but in a desire to reach their potential and live a fulfilled life. They understand that the attainment of a goal isn’t the end of the road. There is always more to see, do and be.

Here are a few tips to stretching yourself to go beyond what you thought was possible.

1. Identify areas that you’re in a rut or feel restless and discontent.

Reaching a goal is a great feat, but sustaining it can result in feeling settled and unchallenged.

2. Set the next goal above and beyond.

Maybe you don’t feel settled at reaching your goal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t push further. Having reached your goal, identify the next level to strive for. For example, can you move up further in your career or set higher sales goals in your business?

3. Determine the tasks required to move you beyond your rut to reach the next goal.

Do you need to continue what you did before or do something else?

4. Fit your new goal and tasks into your daily schedule.

If you’ve already achieved some goals, you know that they don’t come to fruition on their own. It takes action to make them a reality.

5. Watch yourself grow and achieve more than you initially thought.

There is a saying that success in life is a journey not a destination, and it’s true. You should feel proud at achieving your goals, but you should never stop and rest on your laurels. Always be learning and reaching to do and be more.

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