In all your business efforts you must be present in the moment. There is a time and place for everything, and your marketing activities are important for your future success. Business development should not be treated as a low priority. To position yourself for a long and successful career you must be intentional in what your actions. This is especially true in your activities that involve interacting and networking with other people.
It is easy to get distracted with work, family and other obligations, and thus allow business development to happen when you feel like it, if you have time, and regardless of if you are focused on the task. This will lead to haphazard results, and then you lose your enthusiasm for the whole concept of building your reputation and brand.
Wherever you are, be there and pay attention to the people around you. Too often lawyers show up at business events and spend their whole time distracted by checking emails, making calls, and scanning their social media stream. If you are talking to someone who is staring at their phone and not listening to what you are saying you will not be impressed. But my guess is you have done the same thing to others (most of us have done this).
I see people who treat others poorly on a regular basis (and not intentionally) then become angry at those who do the same thing to them. Step back and look at how you behave when you are sharing a moment with people in your business community and lead by example. Keep your phone in your pocket, or better yet... leave it in your car when you go to a meeting, lunch or other business gathering.
Why give people a reason to jump to conclusions that you are a jerk. In your mind you are just keeping up with the onslaught of information that comes your way, but from the point of others you are not choosing to be present in the moment (this is true at home, too).
Occasionally you will have an important issue brewing somewhere (and I am talking about real important issues, not the ones you justify in your mind to add to your sense of self-importance), in which case I suggest not going to networking functions. When you know you will distracted, stay focused on the one issue that needs your immediate attention. By not making your interactions with people a priority, you are wasting your time (and their time!).
Some justify they always have important things happening that require them to multi-task, but I believe if your biggest client who accounted for most of your income asked you for an hour of undivided attention (or you would be fired) you would be very focused. Business development and marketing activities are just like the client who holds your future income in his or her hand.
Not being mentally present in the moments spent with others is a problem that impacts many driven business professionals (not just attorneys) - but this is not true of all people who are successful. I hear excuses all the time, but if you look at the people who have the best reputations in any industry, those around them feel they are all that matters to that person when they are in their presence.
Show people that they are important to you in the present moment and you will invite an ongoing relationship.
Being in the moment is a choice. The alternative is rude.
Have A Great Day
Thom Singer is experienced in legal marketing and business development. He regularly speaks at law firm retreats inspiring attorneys to embrace their brand and increase their sales. He also teaches lawyers ways to improve their presentation skills as the firm's secret weapon for business development success. More information at www.ThomSinger.com.