Thursday, December 22, 2011

Refresher for Job Applicants - 3 key tips

Three job search tips jumped out at me from Jay Goltz's article on tips for job applicants in yesterday's New York Times. They are critical to setting yourself apart, yet I know they are commonly overlooked by lawyers and law students seeking their first or next job. Doesn't that sound like an opportunity?

"7. Think about things you have done in school, in a previous job, in a volunteer position that speak to your commitment, your ability to solve problems, your ability to deal with difficult customer situations, your ability to get a job done. Work it into your résumé and your interview responses.

8. Ask questions, especially when interviewers ask if you have any questions. If you don’t, you look unengaged, afraid or uninterested. And make them good questions about what you’ll be doing on the job. Don’t ask how much vacation time you get. The primary goal of the questions you ask is to get the job, not to decide if you want the job. [emphasis supplied] * * *

10. Stay in touch. If you get to be a finalist for a position but don’t get it, suck it up. Don’t take it personally. The company clearly liked you, but you were edged out. It is not easy to pick between finalists, and many times it is very close. Ask if you can stay in touch. If you get an enthusiastic yes, be sure to do so. There is a good chance that the new hire won’t work out or that another position will open up. You are close!"

If you, or someone you know, want to make changes now for a more effective job search, please contact me to start coaching.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Practical Pointers on Everyday Persuasion - Part 2

2. Appeal to Their Interests, Values and Needs.

When trying to persuade someone, consider that person’s interests, values and needs. Stand in her shoes and see the subject from that point of view. Listen to and respect the other person. Then tailor your comments to appeal to her interests and needs, and so she sees the benefit to herself. Demonstrate how she will benefit. Provide real life examples.

Sales people and young children do this all the time. They align their position with the other person’s interests, appeal to what is important to her, and then communicate clearly and with compelling evidence how the matter is advantageous for her.

Sales people make small talk with a customer and then say something like “I can see quality is important to you” or “this vehicle has all the features a growing family like yours will need.” Many young children are very skilled at persuading their parents by appealing to their parents’ interest in avoiding a public scene.

To persuade your boss to give you a certain matter to handle, consider his concerns and what is important to him. Figure out how giving you the matter aligns with his interests and how it benefits him. Communicate clearly and provide evidence of your readiness and a plan that eliminates his concerns.

When persuading my colleagues to be guinea pigs in the e-newsletter, I appealed to their interests in marketing their legal services in a unique, personal way. Knowing that time is precious, I also made it very easy for them. Similarly, to persuade new members to join the association, we are focused on demonstrating how we meet their interests and needs.

3. Whose Idea

A last bit of advice comes from lawyers who are excellent brief writers. They advise new lawyers to let the judge follow the bread crumbs. Don’t force the conclusion on the judge. When you seek to persuade, let the other person think the idea was his.

If you are ready for coaching to help you get what you want in your career, please contact me.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Practical Pointers on Everyday Persuasion - Part 1

Maybe you want to convince your boss to give you greater independence on a case or project. Perhaps you have to recruit new members for your organization. Today you might be trying to convince a judge. Tomorrow you might need to convince someone to change their behavior, give you a raise, buy something or support a cause.

We encounter situations daily in which we are trying to persuade someone else to hold a certain belief or act a certain way or in which someone is similarly trying to persuade us.

Instead of trying to win an argument or force something on someone, what can you do to polish your power of persuasion for these daily encounters?

Much has been written about the art of persuasion, including Dale Carnegie’s 1936 classic How to Win Friends and Influence People. If you have not read it, I recommend this little old book. But if your time is limited, here are a few pointers on everyday persuasion.

1. Trust and Credibility

I may sound like a broken record but people do business with people they know, like and trust. We use doctors, babysitters and hair dressers with whom we have experience or who are recommended to us because someone else we trust knows, likes and trusts them. We patronize franchises and buy brand name products because we know what to expect. They have credibility in our eyes.

Similarly, your relationships with the people you seek to persuade also play a key role in your ability to persuade them. The more trust and credibility you have with them, the easier it is to persuade them. Moreover, you may have found that you personally are more easily persuaded by people you like.

Therefore, even in brief persuasion encounters, try to establish trust as well as credibility and be positive, likeable, confident. Of course, this includes being sincere and knowledgeable about your subject.

You can use subconscious persuasion techniques like mirroring the person’s body language, getting them nodding, using reciprocity, or over-asking and making your second request the real one. But without trust and credibility, these techniques won’t get you far in winning someone over or inducing a particular action.

For example, without an underlying relationship built on trust and credibility, I never could have persuaded three members in my bar association to be guinea pigs in a new e-newsletter last month. They agreed to be the first featured members, in part, because they trusted that the association and I would produce a quality publication.

Part 2 tomorrow.