Wednesday, November 08, 2006

How to Become an "A" Player Attorney

A few days ago I wrote about how to rank your referral resources with a promise to write about my ideas on what it takes to become an "A" player yourself. Being THE person that everyone wants to know is hard work. It takes consistent attention, dedication, and a single-minded, principled effort to accomplish such a thing. But, when you go to events, there they are -- the 2% in the room that everyone wants to know. That could be you! Here are the things I believe you must do to enter that 2% stratosphere:
  • Be principled, honest, giving, open-hearted, and dedicated to helping other people achieve their dreams. Within limits and safe boundaries every 2%'r I've known made me feel like I was far more important than themselves. And I felt immediate trust in their words. This quality is not something easily faked. It takes real discipline and faith in something greater than yourself.
  • Believe in yourself enough to be able to say, "No." This is a tough one but a 2%'r knows that only the best clients with the most interesting work are the best clients. In slow periods saying no is really hard, but if you seek special status only work with special clients. Anything you turn down can be passed to others within your firm.
  • Be rock-solid on delivering what you promise or imply, both in your profession and with your business relationships. You do not have to be the best attorney in town but you do need to be the most reliable.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for inclusion (in parties, events, meetings and matters). Too many attorneys are intimidated by asking for what they want. 2%'rs know that asking is almost always rewarded. It's not pushy to ask. It's expected.
  • NEVER gossip, tell stories that belittle others, or laugh at "the rest of us." A 2%'r always appreciates what others might contribute even when they're working against themselves.
  • Dress and groom with common sense and demonstrate good manners and etiquette no matter the situation.
  • Never intrude on someone else's spotlight. A 2%'r already appreciates all of the attention they receive and do not need more attention just for the sake of getting attention.
  • Treat people as if they are for more important and interesting and than yourself. Talk about what they want to talk about and look them in the eye when they speak.
Being a 2%'r is not about wealth and fantastic success. It is only about being truly popular among others. Too many people of wealth or success are shunned socially destined to always be "B" players for lack of grace and manner. A 2%'r achieves their perceived status because, well -- they're just all-round, really likable people.
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