• New Rule: The Law of Two Feet

    I’m making a declaration – The Law of Two Feet will apply to all aspects of my life for the entire month of November.

    Law of Two Feet by orcmid from Flickr

    I learned about the Law of Two Feet at my first Podcamp (now called TechPhx). At this unconference, it is perfectly acceptable to leave in the middle of a session if your needs aren’t being met in the session you’re sitting in. The responsibility is on you to get your needs met and to take action if that’s not happening.

    Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself in situations where I realize 10 minutes into a meeting or an event that it’s not what I thought it was going to be and there was no benefit or point for me to be there. I wanted to leave, but I didn’t know how to excuse myself without feeling like I was being rude.

    This month I’m going to figure that out. If I feel like my presence at a meeting or event was unproductive, I’m going to take myself somewhere else.

    This is going to be like an assignment I got when I was taking improv acting at Jester’z. For a week we had to act on every impulse we had as long as it wasn’t going to get us fired or arrested. I was a 3L at the time so that week I walked out of meetings, wrote weird things on white boards, and randomly sat on tables.

    This is going to be fun. Feel free to join me in this endeavor and let me know how it goes!

    Darwin meets Dilbert: Applying the Law of Two Feet to your next meeting by opensourceway from Flickr
  • Top 3 Tools to Establish a Name for Yourself

    When I was a law student and now as a young lawyer, I go to a lot of networking events. They’re a great way to meet people in your community. There are other tools that will help you make a name for yourself online and at the national level. I wanted to share my three favorite tools. There are other ways to make a name for yourself, but these are the top three that work for me.

    The Twitter Bird by eldh

    1. Twitter
    I’ve been a huge proponent of Twitter for a long time. It’s my primary networking tool when there’s someone new I want to meet. All you have to do is follow the person you want to meet and wait for an opportunity to respond to one of their tweets. It’s a great and easy way to break the ice with someone without feeling forced or fake.

    If the person is going to be at an upcoming event, tweet at them about how excited you are to see or meet them. Then during the event tweet a quote from them or an accolade about them. After the event, be sure to tweet about how awesome they were/are.

    2. Maintain a Blog
    Having a blog is a great way to showcase your expertise and interests. At networking events and interviews you can talk about your interests or you can prove it by referencing past blog posts you’ve written on a topic. Maintaining a blog is a lot of work but it’s worth it. It’s not enough to start a blog. You have to update it regularly – preferably weekly – and be patient while you build a following. It takes a while to get there.

    If you are someone who is lucky enough to have an assistant, it’s ok to let them take care of posting your work to your website, finding images for your posts, and taking care of your SEO stuff, but don’t let them write your verbiage. Your readers want to hear your unique voice so write your posts yourself.

    3. Help A Reporter Out (HARO)
    HARO is one of the best ways to get local and national exposure as a potential expert in your field. HARO is a service that connects reporters with potential sources. You can subscribe to HARO for free and you will get 3 emails a day, 5 days per week with dozens of opportunities to share your experience or expertise.

    Most of the requests won’t apply to you, but some of them will – and you need to respond quickly if you want to be a contributor. A lot of the reporters who use HARO are on tight deadlines. I usually respond to at least one HARO every week. It’s especially beneficial when I can include a link to a blog post I’ve written on a topic – I think it increases the odds that a reporter will use me for a story over a lawyer who doesn’t blog on the topic.

    You can also use HARO to network by referring a reporter to others who might be a good fit for their needs or by referring contact to HARO if a reporter is looking for input that they can provide.

    There are lots of ways to make yourself stand out within your profession and the business community. These are some of my favorite tools, but it is definitely not an exhaustive list. If you have a tool or technique that you’d like to share, please leave it as a comment.

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  • Election 2012: Negating Evil

    I was working on my ballot over the weekend and I realized this year, more than any previous year, I’m not voting for candidates as much as I’m voting against their opposition.

    I Voted by stephenyeargin
    I Voted by stephenyeargin from Flickr

    Ever since I was old enough to vote, I’ve always voted by mail with the exception of one minor one-item ballot. I can spend weeks preparing my ballot. Most of the summaries provided by candidates in the voting materials are worthless so I do my own research. It’s common for me to email candidates questions about the issues that matter most to me and I have spreadsheets that help me keep track of where candidate platforms align with my views.

    I’ve never voted a straight party ticket because I don’t feel like I belong in any political party. Most people would say that I’m fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I prefer to say I’m logical and sane.

    Technically I’m a registered Republican but i should probably be an Independent. I changed my party affiliation this year so I could vote in the Arizona presidential primary. I will continue to change my political party as needed to maximize my voting rights and opportunities.

    I’ve received a lot of phone calls from people taking political polls this election cycle. I almost always say I don’t know who I’m voting for in any race because I have strong objections to almost every candidate’s platform. One person asked me which candidate I preferred in a particular race and I responded, “Neither. They both suck.” In many races I feel like I’m voting for the lesser of the two evils, but this election is worse than usual when it comes to my options for state and national positions.

    More than ever I feel like I’m performing a balancing act with my ballot. I tried to find candidates that mostly fit with my views and vote other people into office who will make it hard for them to pass bills into law on issues where I disagree with their position.

    I find political ads obnoxious and I change the channel whenever I see one. A television ad isn’t going to change my vote. I recycle every political ad that arrives in my mailbox without looking at them. Whenever I get a political robo-call, I hold the phone away from my ear so I don’t have to hear it and I find satisfaction in tying up the line for a minute so they can’t annoy someone else.

    I believe you have to vote to maintain your right to bitch. I have a feeling I’ll be bitching not matter who ends up in office because the people who would be best suited for a position are not found on the ballot.