At any given time of the day, you are typically on either side of the communication equation: the speaker’s side or the listener’s side. Regardless of your position, you want to take care with your communication so it will be received and acted on effectively and appropriately. You communicate without care when you empty out your words, raise your voice louder, or repeat the same message if you feel your listener is not understanding what you want them to do. Instead, take care with your messaging and stay focused on not only what you communicate but how you are being perceived by the person with whom you are interacting.

Happy New Year! And what better time than the new year to commit to regularly contacting your internal colleagues and showing genuine interest in them and their business. You get that this is a key way to build relationships with your clients. It is now time to leverage your client development skills and focus your attention on your internal colleagues.

Do you know where your money is currently leading you? Now is the time to take stock of your practice accomplishments to determine if you are on the business track you want to be following. Look at your year’s hours, break them down by matter, type of work and client and determine how you have been spending your time. If you spent more than 60% of your time doing a certain type of work, how newsworthy is that for you?

Your communication or leadership style is your personal stamp. The more aware you are of how your communication values contribute to your success as a leader, the more likely you will be to succeed. There are two interconnected values you want included in your leadership stamp: using judgment and being accessible. Sound judgment helps you earn and maintain trust. As so much of what you do depends on messaging and ensuring that your signals are clear and targeted, it is vital that you use sound judgment with each communication.

If you are someone who prides themselves on getting work but then has a tough time delivering, you may be a procrastinator. You are easily distracted. You thrive in crisis-mode and continuously put out fires of your own making. You are constantly in a time crunch and get a rush from being able to complete tasks at the last minute. Knowing that you can usually get away with doing things just before they’re due, you will continue to procrastinate until something horribly goes wrong and you get exposed.

Cross-selling is all about leveraging. The key value in cross-selling is to unite with others to go after the same target. You can leverage and deepen your client relationships by introducing your colleagues and their expertise to your key clients and leverage and deepen your colleagues’ relationships by introducing your expertise to their contacts.

Being contacted through a referral source will give you extreme satisfaction. What better testament than a client, friend or contact who, being impressed by your work and brand, feels motivated to recommend your services to someone else. Sometimes the most unlikely source or contact can deliver a lucrative or once in a lifetime mandate. As every opportunity, client or contact is a potential referral source, you want to be on your mark with every interaction so you always display your personal best.

Marketing is the overt branding piece within the trilogy of networking, marketing and sales. Networking will always get you through the door. Marketing will provide the hook to explore the discussion, enabling the sales piece to close the deal. When you market, this is the opportune time for you to promote and focus on your brand. You strategically select ways to share your message and expertise in order to further leverage your relationships. Your contacts and clients are all different, their needs and wants vary and their expectations in terms of your services are unique to their circumstances.

It is a safe claim that you, like many lawyers, get eighty percent of your work from twenty percent of your clients, aka whales. As the image depicts, having one or two whale clients who anchor your practice and consistently refer meaty or voluminous work will effectively provide your legal practice with value, industry and knowledge expertise, stability and economic success.