My yoga studio has been offering virtual classes these past few months, and I’ve enjoyed rolling my mat out on the porch. I’ve been practicing regularly for more than fifteen years now and benefit physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. During a recent class, my favorite instructor directed us to be deliberate and intentional about connecting our breath to movement throughout the class.
Breathing is typically an involuntary action. It’s something we do while sleeping and awake without consciously thinking about it. As I moved through the practice, I focused on consciously linking my breath to movement with intent. It is not as easy as it sounds. For a few days after that session, I kept coming back to the notion of being deliberate and intentional. In our dramatically different world, many of the things we have always done with little thought, planning or preparation now require intentional and deliberate effort.
Building and nurturing relationships with our clients and colleagues was at one time a pretty involuntary action for most of us. We may have had a lunch break together during a day of depositions, worked side by side in a conference room to negotiate a deal, stopped by a colleague’s office to chat on the way to get coffee, toasted a successful closing at a team dinner and attended industry conferences or other events with our clients. Today those very natural activities seem almost foreign. In order to sustain and build new relationships, we have to be deliberate and intentional. Here are a few suggestions for nurturing client and colleague relationships now:
- Schedule walk-and-talk time where you can catch up with a colleague or client while you both get a little outdoor exercise.
- Invite a small and diverse group of clients who share common interests or challenges both personally and professionally to connect over video conference for an informal coffee talk or happy hour.
- Every week, introduce yourself to an attorney in another office or practice group that you have never met. Schedule a call with each one to find out how you can be knowledgeable enough about their experiences and expertise to opportunity spot for them and vice versa.
- Invite the colleagues who normally sit in the offices adjacent to you to catch up over Zoom lunch.
- Check in with clients to find out how their communication preferences and needs have changed/are changing in the virtual environment.
- Ask for feedback often:
- After virtual meetings or presentations
- When new team members become involved with client work
- About the firm’s resource center
- After you have provided the first status update on a new matter or sent the first invoice
- Mid matter and end of matter