As a corporate transactional attorney for the past 24 years, I think it’s fair to describe myself as a senior statesperson in the NYC business world. I’ve been at it so long I don’t remember who taught me the value of returning phone calls on a same-day basis. Nevertheless, this good business practice persisted into the digital age, and I make an effort to respond to emails similarly.
In my May 2018 blog, I attributed these good business habits to my training in Big Law. But, it wasn’t until going solo that I began thinking about the importance of face-to-face meetings in maintaining client relationships. In my experience, face-to-face meetings with colleagues and referral sources are also essential for establishing professional connections based on trust and mutual respect.
In developing any relationship, reliability and trustworthiness are first demonstrated at the outset, and showing up is a key component for success. But not everyone does this.
Do you show up and are you on time?
I was reminded of the connection between consistency and success by a fellow solo, Eldonie Mason, who in her recent newsletter entitled Success Requires Showing Up wrote: “In order to be successful, you must continue to show up…One thing that has remained constant is, I continue to show up even when I don’t feel like it.”
Consistently showing up for networking can be challenging. Recently, there has been a surge of virtual networking groups (“VNG”), so I began wondering:
Since the bar to entry is low, I’m not convinced that reliability and trust can be easily established by participation in VNG. It doesn’t take a great deal of effort or commitment to join an online networking meeting. You don’t get a sense of a person’s demeanor through an online chatroom. You can’t perceive the impact of your words on your audience. Without these elements, can a VNG really be considered a community?
In my opinion, we need less social media and living in the virtual world. Without real life, human interactions, the picture and our perceptions are flat. Our interactions are simply words on a page devoid of emotion, feeling, and a sense of responsibility for their impact. Although we are more (digitally) connected today than ever before, we tend to feel more isolated and long to be “seen.” I fear that in the digital age, we are becoming desensitized, losing touch with humanity and our ability to feel empathy and sympathy.
I recently met with a relationship manager at Chase. He literally “Chased” me for 3 months insisting we meet in person. His tenacity in following through with this meeting made a huge impact on me. He showed me that he is rooted in the same core values that I believe are fundamental to success. This awareness led me to introduce him to yet another professional, thus spreading the networking love the Brooklyn way!