Liz Vaysman

Creating success at the Hit the Ground Running Bootcamp

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to participate in the Hit the Ground Running Bootcamp at Vinson & Elkins in DC.  It was truly an unbelievable experience.  I was given individual feedback from experienced attorneys on my communication, networking, and self-promotion skills while interacting with local leaders in the legal profession.  We learned everything from how to approach a cocktail reception to how to manage your LinkedIn page to the best way to get your point across to a boss.  After hearing each influential speaker, we broke up into small groups and practiced these much needed skills with seasoned attorneys.  Along with seventy of my peers, I definitely left ready to Hit the Ground Running in my career!

An overview of the fantastic day:

Effective Communication with Eileen Billinson

To kick off the day, Eileen first communicated the importance of having your own goals and a “Business Plan.”  She filled our anxious minds with ways to communicate our message in any setting – from delivering legal information to a supervisor to public speaking.  She focused our attention to sharpening our soft skills and embracing self-awareness.  Eileen made sure we understood that communication is not a one-way route but goes full circle.  To truly communicate, you not only need to know your audience and be receiver focused but also need to know how you are speaking.

Speaking is very personal – it transmits who are you and how you are going to be perceived.  To make it easy, Eileen explained the key to informative speaking is to follow you ABCs – Accurate, Brief, and Clear.  Keep your message simple but clear and follow a road map.  As she reminded us, Lincoln didn’t have a PowerPoint at Gettysburg.

After Eileen’s inspiring message to create a professional and personal plan while learning to effectively communicate, we split up into small groups and used her guidance to practice presenting a legal issue to a supervisor.  By simulating an associate/partner scenario, I was able to get instant feedback on what I need to work on to sharpen my communication skills.

Networking with Diane Darling

Diane started off by taking us back to that terrifying moment when we first learned how to drive stick-shift.  I have to say, that is something I have tried to repress!  However, she let us know that this workshop was the same way – she wanted us to learn how to drive stick-shift on a Honda with her so that we can smoothly drive a Porsche in the future. 

Diane broke the art of networking dow: Networking is… (1) building relationships before you need them, and (2) the transference of trust.  For Diane’s guide on how to work a room, click here.  For other tips, click here.

With Diane’s how-to tips on networking, we broke up into groups and practicing our new skills with faculty members.  Even in such a relaxed and open environment, it was difficult to use our newly learned skills to connect with such prominent attorneys.  The faculty provided genuine feedback on our individual methods on networking.

Demonstrating your Value with Kelly Hoey

Kelly took us step-by-step through ways to develop self-promotion skills and awareness.  First, she emphasized the importance of doing good work: by providing great services, people will talk about you.  Kelly also encouraged participants to connect through social networks, and specifically through the right social networks in a certain way.  Aside from the internet, Kelly discussed the importance of maintaining connections that you make in-person by the most appropriate means of following-up.  Also, Kelly  answered the common question of one distinction between a mentor and a sponsor - a sponsor may vouch for you without you even knowing they respect your work whereas a mentor is a relationship that develops through guidance and support.

If you have mentoring questions for Kelly, visit Levo League here.

Utilizing Kelly’s inspirational self-promotion techniques, we were forced to write about ourselves in the first and then third-person.  This was quite challenging for me but once I completed the exercise, the ability to demonstrate my value was empowering.

Thank you to all of our participants and faculty who made the Bootcamp such a success! For questions, feel free to contact me at vaysman@ms-jd.org.

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